UCLA falls apart in double-overtime loss to Stanford 107-99
Aaron Holiday crouched in discomfort when the game ended, limping his way through the handshake line after absorbing a hit to his calf.
The pain had become achingly literal for UCLA after its first bad loss of the season, a 107-99 double-overtime clunker against Stanford on Thursday night at Maples Pavilion resulting from the failure to play defense or make free throws.
Five consecutive missed free throws in the final minutes of regulation completed the Bruins’ collapse after they once led by 13 points and doomed them to overtime, where they needed Holiday’s buzzer-beating three-pointer to force a second extra period.
The Bruins (11-4 overall, 2-1 Pac-12 Conference) weren’t as fortunate in the final five minutes, losing another lead as well as their four-game winning streak. Holiday’s 31 points were no salvation on a night his team made only 19 of 35 free throws (54.3%) while allowing Stanford (7-8, 1-1) to make 51.4% of its shots.
“It was Michigan revisited,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said, alluding to his team’s failure to hold a 15-point lead in the second half against the Wolverines last month. “We just couldn’t close out and we’ve got to figure that out.”
Dorian Pickens’ three-pointer with 1:55 left in the second overtime gave Stanford a 101-99 lead as the Cardinal scored the game’s final 11 points. Pickens finished with 26 points.
Bodies were in short supply by the end of a game that spanned 50 minutes of clock time. Stanford’s big-man tandem of Reid Travis and Michael Humphrey both fouled out. So did UCLA’s Thomas Welsh, Kris Wilkes and GG Goloman.
The Bruins sealed their fate by making only six of 16 free throws in the second half. Holiday said they also suffered from breakdowns in switching on ball screens and defense.
“Just atrocious foul-shooting, the second half in particular,” Alford said, “and atrocious defense. You’re not going to win road games defending like that. “
UCLA appeared headed for defeat in the first overtime when Stanford’s Oscar da Silva blocked Holiday’s drive to the basket and saved the ball inbounds to teammate Kezie Okpala with the Cardinal holding a two-point lead. The Bruins fouled Okpala with five seconds left and he made one free throw to extend Stanford’s lead to 95-92.
Holiday then calmly made a three-pointer at the buzzer, getting wrapped in a bear hug by Prince Ali.
UCLA could not hold a 13-point lead with nine minutes remaining in regulation largely because of lackluster defense and missed free throws. Ali stepped to the line with 18 seconds left needing to make only one of two attempts to give the Bruins a four-point lead. He missed both.
Pickens then made a contested three-pointer to tie the score with five seconds left and Holiday lost the ball in the final seconds before the overtime.
It had already been an odd game for the Bruins. Welsh required three stitches for a gash on his nose that forced him to miss most of the first half and to wear a mask after halftime. The mask affected Welsh’s shooting as he airballed a three-pointer and missed back-to-back free throws.
Welsh was called for a foul on the play in which he suffered the cut, awarding Travis two free throws while Welsh went to the locker room with blood coating his nose.
Welsh finally sprinted back onto the court during a timeout with about 31/2 minutes left in the first half while wearing No. 55 because his usual No. 40 jersey had been smeared with blood. Welsh checked back into the game but had to check back out less than a minute later after picking up his second foul.
When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Haas Pavilion, Berkeley
TV: Pac-12 Networks.
Update: The Bruins did not face the Golden Bears in the Bay Area last season as part of the Pac-12 Conference’s unbalanced schedule but emerged with an 81-71 victory at Pauley Pavilion in the teams’ only meeting.
Follow Ben Bolch on Twitter @latbbolch
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