Men’s basketball falls to first-place Cardinal in third consecutive loss
Redshirt sophomore forward/center Jalen Hill posted his first double-double since Dec. 1, putting up 14 points and 12 rebounds against Stanford on Wednesday. (Amy Dixon/Daily Bruin senior staff)
By Ryan Smith
Jan. 15, 2020 9:12 p.m.
This post was updated Jan 15. at 11:03 p.m.
The Bruins traded blows with the first-place Cardinal, but ultimately didn’t have enough to hand them their first conference loss of the season.
UCLA men’s basketball (8-9, 1-3 Pac-12) fell to Stanford (15-2, 4-0) 74-59 at Pauley Pavilion on Wednesday night, giving the Bruins their third consecutive loss and first losing record since March 2016. It was also the Cardinal’s first win at Pauley Pavilion since Jan. 20, 2005.
Despite trailing by just two points at the break, UCLA managed to score just 28 points in the second half against the top-ranked defense in the Pac-12. The Bruins also trailed by two points at halftime in their loss to the Trojans on Saturday, one week after blowing a double-digit lead in the second half at Washington State.
When asked about whether he and the team are starting to see a negative pattern arise in the second half of games, sophomore forward Jalen Hill said that he is seeing issues that go beyond just the final 20 minutes.
“I sense the pattern of losing and it sucks,” Hill said. “Just going out there every time and it kind of seems inevitable.”
Hill also said that finding the solution to the losing falls on the shoulders of the players, not coach Mick Cronin.
“Play hard – that’s it,” Hill said. “It’s not looking for your shot. It’s not looking for if I’m coming in or not. It’s when you’re out there, play the hardest and the smartest you can. (Cronin is) not asking anything different from us. He’s not telling us to go out there and do something that we can’t do.”
Stanford entered Wednesday’s matchup allowing 58.3 points per game – a full three points better than second-place Colorado.
The Bruins turned the ball over 16 times in the game, allowing the Cardinal to convert those turnovers into 21 points. UCLA has now coughed up the ball 45 times in its past three contests for an average of 15 turnovers per game in that span.
Cronin attributed the team’s turnover issues – as well as a plethora of other problems – to the group’s lack of “mental fortitude.” However, he added that time will be a major factor in correcting the problem considering how young the roster is.
“We’ve just got to keep developing our toughness,” Cronin said. “(The players are) going to get challenged every day by me. Those who want to play with some pride and stand in the ring and fight will remain. They’ll get better, too. That’s what happens if you fight through it.”
Stanford had three players finish the night in double figures, including guard Tyrell Terry and forward Spencer Jones, who combined to score 38 points on 11-of-20 shooting from the field and a 8-of-13 mark from beyond the arc.
While the Bruins also had three players score in double figures for a combined 40 points, the rest of the team scored just 19 total points on 6-of-24 shooting. Hill did the most damage on the night, putting up a 14-point, 12-rebound double-double.
UCLA will return to action on Jan. 19 when it hosts California at Pauley Pavilion at 5 p.m.
Freshman guard/forward Jamie Jaquez Jr. said while the Bruins are dealing with their longest losing streak of the season and a sub-.500 record, they will continue trying to build off of each game as the year progresses.
“We still have to keep looking forward,” Jaquez said. “These losses – they’re getting tiring.”