Despite being back at home and despite playing against a team they’ve had some success against the last few times out at Beasley Coliseum, the Washington State Cougars once again were sabotaged by horrendous defense as the UCLA Bruins cruised to an 87-67 win.
How bad was the defense? At one point, the Bruins (12-9 overall, 5-3 in Pac-12) made 23 of 27 shot attempts spanning the end of the first half and the beginning of the second. For the game, UCLA had an effective field goal percentage of 68, exceeding the 67 put up by both Washington and Santa Clara for the best shooting performance by a WSU opponent this season.
The Cougars (8-13, 1-7) have now allowed 85 or more points five times in eight Pac-12 games — all losses.
WSU possessed a lead midway through the first half, was tied with just under eight minutes to go in the first half, trailed by just two with under six minutes to go in the opening period, and trailed by three with just under four minutes to go before the break. But as has been the case against everyone not named Cal — which, thankfully, is even worse than WSU — there came a point where the Cougs could no longer make nearly every basket, which is what’s required to keep pace with their porous defense.
Just like the 20-point loss to Oregon, there was no monster run that buried the Cougs in this 20-point loss — only a relentlessly efficient attack by their opponents that stretched the lead further and further away until there came a point where it was clear WSU couldn’t come back. From the 3:54 mark of the first half when the Cougars trailed by three until the 8:11 mark of the second half, UCLA outscored WSU 42-24 to take a 21-point lead that put it out of reach.
Robert Franks had a nice game, scoring 21 points with five rebounds, while CJ Elleby scored 15 with eight assists and two rebounds. Elleby again, however, had a poor night taking care of the basketball with four more turnovers, something that is really eating into his efficiency.
Five different Bruins scored in double figures.
The Cougars now are off until Saturday, when they’ll welcome the USC Trojans to Beasley Coliseum at 4 p.m. PT.