The Bruins did not dance for very long this year.
No. 11-seeded UCLA men’s basketball fell to No. 11-seeded St. Bonaventure on Tuesday by a score of 65-58 in one of the First Four matchups of the NCAA Tournament in Dayton, Ohio.
After shooting 5-of-5 to open the game, the Bruins were buried by turnovers, posting 10 in the first 11 minutes of the opening half. The Bonnies capitalized, snagging 14 points off turnovers and taking their first lead with 4:52 remaining in the half.
UCLA had no field goals in the final six-and-a-half minutes of the first half. As a team, the Bruins ended the half 8-of-23 from the field, shooting 34.8 percent. With only 23 points heading into the locker room, it was UCLA’s lowest-scoring first half of the season.
The Bruins knocked down 7 unanswered points early in the second half to tie the game at 32 with 17 minutes remaining. A free throw by freshman guard Kris Wilkes gave the Bruins their first lead since late in the first half.
Aaron Holiday, who opened the game 2-for-2 from three, hit two more from behind the arc midway through the second half to give UCLA a 3-point lead. The junior guard finished the game with a team-leading 20 points on 7-of-17 shooting.
A jumper by redshirt sophomore forward Alex Olesinski grew the lead to 5 – but St. Bonaventure didn’t stay quiet.
With a 3-pointer and layup by guard Courtney Stockard and a layup by forward LaDarien Griffin, the Bonnies regained the lead with six minutes remaining. Guard Matt Mobley added a jumper and another 3-pointer to grow the Bonnies’ lead to 7. Within the four-minute stretch, the Bruins added on another three turnovers.
A jumper by Holiday and a 3-pointer by redshirt sophomore guard Prince Ali brought UCLA back within 2 with two-and-a-half minutes remaining. Holiday tied the game at 58 with two free throws, but St. Bonaventure quickly followed with a jumper by guard Jaylen Adams.
The Bruins had a chance, but a turnover by Holiday gave the Bonnies the ball with 27 seconds to play.
Late fouls by Ali, Holiday and Wilkes sealed the deal for St. Bonaventure, giving the Bonnies their first NCAA Tournament win since 1970.
Senior center Thomas Welsh posted only 2 points in his final game as a Bruin.