WSU (10-15, 5-9 in Pac-12) hung around early, but UCLA (19-4, 10-2) outscored WSU 41-26 in the second half. Star guard Jaime Jacquez Jr. paced the Bruins with 24 points.
Adrame Diongu returned to the rotation after missing Thursday nights game due to illness. D.J. Rodman, Dylan Darling and the Korpela brothers all were out for the second straight game.
The three ball fell early and often on both sides of the court. T.J. Bamba and Justin Powell opened up the trey parade with back-to-back threes to give WSU the early edge. Amari Bailey for UCLA quickly responded with the first three for the Bruins. The Cougs and Bruins wrestled early for the lead, trading buckets for the first five minutes. WSU’s early hot shooting began to fade into bad pass turnovers and the Bruins took full advantage. UCLA jumped all over the WSU mistakes for a 17-5 run to take a 10 point lead. Andrej Jakimovski answered the UCLA run with a three and a layup to cut the lead back down to five, but the Bruins again quickly responded with their own 5-0 run to push the lead right back up to 10. Bamba added a free throw before the half to send the Cougs into the half down nine. The Cougars turned the ball over 11 times in the first half, leading to 10 points scored off turnovers for UCLA.
The Cougars were going to play a near perfect second half in order to rally and pull off the upset in UCLA for the first time since Klay Thompson resided on the Palouse. WSU was able to hang around early, limiting turnovers and continuing to get good shooting from Bamba and Powell. A pair of Bamba free throws brought the game back within eight with 14 minutes to go. With momentum hanging in the balance, UCLA shut down any and all hope WSU may have gathered in the first six minutes of the half. Jacquez Jr. attacked the rim on back-to-back possessions that kickstarted a dominant 13-0 UCLA run over the span of three and a half minutes. What once was an eight point game with WSU slowly chipping away, quickly became a UCLA 21 point lead that all but put the game away. The Cougars couldn’t get the shooting to pick back up after the UCLA run and the Bruins went on cruise control for the final ten minutes. The 24-point loss is the largest loss of the Cougars season.
WSU will get a week of before welcoming in the rival Washington Huskies on Saturday in Pullman.