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Cougars' rally falls short against #13 UCLA


It took a career high from Caleb Forrest, a re-energized Friel Court crowd and some great second half defense for the Cougars to erase a 15 point UCLA lead.

But it wasn't enough.

Caleb Forrest had 19 points and Aron Baynes added 15 as WSU (11-7, 3-3 Pac-10) fell to #13 UCLA (15-3, 5-1) in Pullman, 61-59.

The Bruins jumped out to a 36-23 lead at the half led by Nikola Dragovic, who was 6 of 7 from long range in the half and finished with a career high 20 points.

The second half, however, belonged to Washington State. The Cougars got some timely buckets and a few stops to cut deep into the UCLA lead. Caleb Forrest's three-pointer with 5:13 remaining tied the game at 53.

But Darren Collison drove the lane for the next six UCLA points, helping the Bruins to a four point lead.

After a Marcus Capers basket cut the lead to 61-59, the Cougars were able to get the ball back with 17 seconds remaining.

That's when Forrest was trapped by UCLA defenders, forcing Tony Bennett to call a time out. Forrest made a basket that would have potentially tied the game, but it was after the whistle.

The Cougars then struggled on the in-bounds play with 5 seconds left, eventually lobbing the ball to Marcus Capers who badly missed a three as time ran out.

It was the Bruins' 16th consecutive win in Pullman.

Player of the Game: Forrest: 19 points, 8 of 9 shooting, including a perfect 2 for 2 from three-point range. Added 4 assists, 4 rebounds and 0 turnovers.

Unsung hero: Aron Baynes. The Aussie's third straight double-double, with 15 points and 10 boards.

Play of the Game: Forrest's three to tie the game at 53. Just an incredible moment inside Beasley. What a game for Caleb.

It was over when... UCLA's Darren Collison secured the defensive rebound as time expired.

So this must be what it feels like for the other guys when Daven Harmeling goes off: UCLA's Nikola Dragovic had a career high 20 points - 18 in the first half, as the Bruins seemingly achieved an insurmountable lead.

But no Harm done: Daven Harmeling did not play for the first time this season (coach's decision), and possibly for the first time in his career while healthy.

Excuse me, but... Since when did UCLA deserve all the breaks? Like a Dragovic two-pointer in the first half that was scored as a three by the officials. Or a failed alley-oop play that bounced off the outstretched hand of a UCLA player and right into the bucket. Or any number of baskets down the stretch where the Cougars drew contact but no foul was called.

Of course, had we not fallen down so far in the first half, it wouldn't have mattered. UCLA is good enough to earn some of their own luck - and survive when things go the other way.

Rhetorical Question of the Night: I love the Bennetts. I really do. But do we even have an effective inbounds play? Or any special plays drawn up for end-of-game situations? I feel like these have been few and far between in my six years of watching Bennett ball.

Stat of the Night: The Cougars dominated UCLA in offensive rebounding percentage, 38.5% to 23.1%. That, my friends, is a wonderful sign for the future.