The schedule was running out. UCLA's record was not good enough. The Bruins played one great half against the Wildcats, but did not do enough in the other to earn a win that would save their season.
Did Friday's loss feel familiar?
"Most definitely," guard Isaac Hamilton said.
UCLA has slipped out of all major NCAA tournament projections after losing five of its last seven games.
Last season, UCLA recovered well enough to sneak back in. This season, the Bruins have seven games left to do the same.
In the locker room after the game Friday, Hamilton said, Coach Steve Alford told the team, "From now on, we've just got to take it one day at a time and just look forward."
Alford said there was plenty to be encouraged about against Arizona.
"We played well here," he said. "We fought. I wanted to see emotion. We got that. We fought like crazy. We did a lot of good things."
But at this point, as guard Bryce Alford noted after the game, what UCLA really could've used was a win.
UCLA NEXT UP
VS. ARIZONA STATE
When: Sunday, 5:30 p.m. PST.
Where: Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, Ariz.
On the air: TV: ESPNU; Radio: 570.
Update: In the teams' first meeting this season, UCLA and Arizona State were tied with less than two minutes remaining. Then Aaron Holiday and Bryce Alford made three-pointers and UCLA won, 81-74. The Bruins (13-11, 4-7 Pac-12) have lost two in a row and four out of five. Arizona State (14-11, 4-8) is coming off a surprising victory over USC. Tra Holder, the Sun Devils' leading scorer, had 20 points.