Afflalo says team showed ‘lack of maturity’ in loss
UCLA guard Arron Afflalo has watched his team’s game against Stanford over and over again. Twice on Sunday. Three times on Monday.
If he watched it a thousand times, it won’t change the outcome. The Bruins mounted a 17-point lead, gave up a 15-0 second-half run and lost by seven, 75-68, Sunday.
“I can’t believe we showed such a lack of maturity,” said Afflalo on Tuesday, the view through the lens of a camera no more plausible than the view from the court. “I can’t believe we lost that game. It’s such a weird feeling. I’m still not over it. It was horrible. We were attacked and we didn’t fight back. If we don’t have an understanding now what we have to do as a team, then our season could get cut short come the postseason.”
Afflalo does take heart from another crushing moment, one from last season. Playing against a USC squad that would finish its Pacific 10 Conference season below .500, UCLA, in its final game at the Sports Arena, was upset by the Trojans, 71-68.
The word upset best described the mood of the Bruins on their bus ride back to Westwood that night.
“That loss we suffered was a lot like this one,” Afflalo said. “We made a commitment as a team after that loss. I kind of see the same thing happening again now.”
A commitment the Bruins kept, reeling off 12 straight wins which took them all the way to the NCAA championship game last spring where they lost to Florida.
“I hate learning through losses,” Afflalo said, “but you do learn.”
UCLA Coach Ben Howland has also seen the tape of Sunday’s game several times. There are myriad reasons he pointed to for the loss, from foul trouble to poor execution on offense to a superlative effort by the Cardinal.
But one particular play, a two-on-one fast break by the Bruins which Josh Shipp failed to convert into two points, left the UCLA coach frustrated enough to have a long talk with his sophomore swingman.
“The bottom line,” Howland said, “is that instead of just sprinting to try to get the layup, he was getting his timing down to try to come in for a dunk. All we care about are the two points. We don’t get anything extra for dunks.”
Asked what Howland had told him, a chagrined Shipp said, “Be fundamentally sound instead of going for the highlight play.”