Freshman forward Kevon Looney embraced his coaches as he stepped off the court here and walked down the tunnel into the locker room. The loss could be his final game at UCLA.
Looney, considered a promising NBA prospect, could make himself available for the NBA draft, forgoing his remaining three seasons of eligibility. For now, he said he hasn’t thought about his decision but added that he’ll sit down and talk with his parents in the coming days.
Should Looney choose to enter the draft, he would be a potential lottery pick. But he left open the possibility of his return.
“College is always a great place to build your character and build your game,” Looney said. “So I can see myself coming back, but I’ve got to talk to my parents about it.”
Entering the game, UCLA had made a three-point field goal in 520 consecutive games, a streak that dates to 2000. Nearly 38 minutes into the game, that streak was in jeopardy.
Both teams struggled to shoot in the cavernous football stadium. Gonzaga made only one three-pointer in the game. The Bulldogs had made 10 of 16 in their previous game against Iowa.
Until 2 minutes 25 seconds remained, UCLA hadn’t made any. But Bryce Alford made a three-pointer, then Isaac Hamilton followed, and Alford banked in another three.
Roberts’ final call
After the game, several UCLA staffers walked to the sideline toward Chris Roberts, UCLA’s radio announcer for 23 years who is retiring after the season. Friday’s game was his final call, and the staffers shook his hand and saluted.
This was the lowest-seeded UCLA team ever to make the regional semifinals. In 2002, an eighth-seeded Bruins team advanced to the same round and lost. … Gonzaga outscored UCLA by 10 points at the free-throw line. The Bruins made seven of 11 at the line. Gonzaga made 17 of 23. … The announced attendance at both of Friday’s games was 21,168. … Senior guard Norman Powell has appeared in every UCLA game in his four seasons with the Bruins.