The faint-hearted can safely attend UCLA basketball games without fear of any last-minute drama given the way things continue to develop for the Bruins.
Doing it through the evaluation of your team after coach Mick Cronin’s game is a completely different matter.
The coach verbally crushed his players on Wednesday night after they repeated a familiar pattern as they faded badly in the last 20 minutes of a 74-59 loss to Stanford at Pauley Pavilion.
“When things get tough,” Cronin said, “we don’t have many guys who get going.” When things get tough, we have some types that will retire. We lack hardness. “
Cronin’s comments came after his team was there at halftime, making a great effort in a tense game, before hesitating in the second half for the third time in a row.
The Cardinal’s great men slid continuously behind their counterparts for easy baskets and guards often ran to get quick throws in a flurry of turnovers.
The result was predictable, Stanford (15-2 overall, 4-0 Pac-12 Conference) moving away for his first victory on the Bruins home field since 2005, while remaining the only undefeated team in the game of the conference.
“As the game progresses, our softness shows,” Cronin said after his team was overcome 41-28 in the second half. “Our selfishness is sometimes evident and probably has been for people who have seen us all year long on the offensive side, some of the shots we take and the turnovers because certain guys don’t want to pass basketball.”
Cronin seemed to keep some of his most scathing comments for the chief guard of the red shirt, Prince Ali, although he never mentioned Ali by name. The coach replaced Ali with second-year guard David Singleton in the starting lineup after saying that Singleton had completed his best two days of practice.
Singleton responded with 11 points, two assists and no turnovers in 32 minutes. Ali played just a minute, losing his only shot.
“We simply have boys who refuse to listen and follow the rules, so they can’t play,” Cronin said. “So, if you want to ask me about a certain guy, that’s the answer. To be honest with you, I had to keep playing certain guys that I don’t even think they deserved. But I didn’t want to put others back, so I I was running out of boys. “
The only fight UCLA showed in the final minutes was when Cronin committed a technical foul.
“I was just trying to show the boys that you have to compete,” Cronin said.
The Bruins (8-9, 1-3) are caught in reverse after their third consecutive loss gave them a losing record for the first time this season. They seem bound to their first losing season since 2015-16 if they can’t change the template they’ve presented in recent weeks.
UCLA has lost six of seven games and has not won on its local court since early December.
At this rate, the UCLA band may not be able to enjoy their post-game tradition of playing “Rover” after a home victory again this season.
The entire Wednesday celebration was held by visitors, who had control over the last 81/2 minutes after building a two-digit advantage.
Stanford’s guard, Tyrell Terry, scored his 24-point outburst with an emphatic arm bomb in the last minutes after burying the last of his four triples. The Cardinal made eight of 17 triples (47.1%) while keeping the Bruins to five by 16 (31.3%), repeating another trend that has gone against UCLA this season.
UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored 15 points and striker Jalen Hill was strong in all areas with 14 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks, two assists and two steals.
It wasn’t enough on a night when the Bruins got almost nothing from the guards Chris Smith and Tyger Campbell, who combined to make two of nine shots. Smith also committed four travel violations and Campbell limped to the locker room with about eight minutes remaining and did not return.
Hill said the players were disappointed because they were not producing better results for their new coach.
“It has given us everything in practice and has supported us for longer [time]”Hill said.” It hurts to see that because there are many people in this world who don’t support you and we’re failing you right now, to be honest. “