Two games into Pac-12 play, the Bruins seemed to have put their free-throw woes behind them.
Their struggles from the charity stripe were as bad as ever Thursday night, though, as UCLA men’s basketball (11-4, 2-1 Pac-12) coughed up a 13-point second-half lead before losing 107-99 in double overtime at Stanford (7-8, 1-1).
The Bruins missed seven of their final eight free throws in regulation before giving up a game-tying 3-pointer with five seconds left. They finished 19-of-35 from the line.
Junior guard Aaron Holiday paced UCLA with 31 points, 29 of which came after halftime.
It looked like Holiday had led the Bruins to win in the second half, scoring 22 points on 8-of-8 shooting in the period – including a driving layup that put the Bruins up 85-82 with 25 seconds left in regulation.
When Stanford guard Daejon Davis then missed a pair of free throws, UCLA seemed to have sealed the win. But redshirt sophomore guard Prince Ali misfired on two freebies of his own, giving the Cardinal a chance to knot up the game.
Stanford guard Dorian Pickens, who knocked down six triples on the night, caught the ball in the corner and used a shot fake that sent Holiday flying by him before he drilled the game-tying shot.
In the first overtime, Holiday produced a game-tying 3-pointer of his own, dribbling the court with five seconds left and finding space for a triple that sunk right as the buzzer sounded.
The shot breathed new life into the Bruins’ hopes, but they did little with them. They didn’t connect on a single field goal in the second overtime and didn’t score at all in the final two minutes and 45 seconds as the Cardinal closed on an 11-0 run to take the eight-point victory.
Stanford out-shot UCLA 51 percent to 45 percent, including 43 percent shooting on 3-pointers.
UCLA shot just 30 percent from long range. Freshman guard Jaylen Hands, who entered the game shooting 46 percent from deep, missed all five of his 3-point attempts.
Ali and freshman guard Kris Wilkes provided the secondary scoring to Holiday, pouring in 16 and 18 points, respectively. Senior forward GG Goloman also notched a career-high 14 points.
Stanford was led throughout the latter part of the game by Pickens and Davis, who combined for 38 points after halftime.
The Cardinal won the battle of the boards, out-rebounding UCLA 53-42 on the game. The Bruins’ senior center, Thomas Welsh, injured his nose in the first half, exiting the game but returning later in the half wearing a different jersey number – No. 55. In the second half, Welsh wore a mask to protect against further damage.
Welsh received three stitches to address the injury, reported Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times. He fouled out at the end of the first overtime, finishing with eight points and 10 rebounds.
The first half was relatively even, with Stanford controlling play at times thanks to big man Reid Travis, who put up 14 points and seven boards in the period. UCLA scored the final five points of the half, though, to take a five-point lead into halftime.
The Bruins then came out strong in the second half, with foul trouble for Travis and a relentless scoring burst from Holiday helping produce a lead as large as 13 points.
It shouldn’t have been a tough lead to protect, but the Bruins did have to make their free throws.
They didn’t and paid the price.