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Washington leaps over UCLA men’s basketball in Cronin’s 1st loss to Huskies

Coach Mick Cronin yells toward the floor during a game. Thursday, UCLA men’s basketball lost its third consecutive game as it fell to Washington in Seattle by 17 points. (Myka Fromm/Photo editor)

Men’s basketball


UCLA77
Washington94

By Grace Whitaker

Feb. 29, 2024 10:06 p.m.

This post was updated Feb. 29 at 11:23 p.m.

Leap Day is considered an unlucky day in some cultures.

Four years ago, on Feb. 29, luck fell in UCLA’s favor as it took down Arizona by a five-point margin.

But this year, the luck turned – it was the Bruins that landed in the losing column.

Following a 32-point night from guard Keion Brooks Jr., UCLA men’s basketball (14-14, 9-8 Pac-12) came up short against Washington (16-13, 8-10) on Thursday night 94-77. The Huskies’ 15 made 3-pointers on a 62.5% shooting clip were the most 3-pointers at the highest rate UCLA has allowed all year. To add to the season-low defensive night, 94 was the most points the Bruins have forfeited this campaign.

Following the opening tip, UCLA procured three straight fouls before attempting two shots. This feat spurred coach Mick Cronin to obtain a technical foul 20 seconds into the matchup.

Cronin’s technical ignited Washington to open the contest on an 8-2 run, which was quickly answered by a round of baskets from UCLA. Brooks – the Pac-12’s leading scorer – continued his team’s offensive outburst with seven points in the first five minutes. The forward then added three points by halftime before his 22-point second frame.

Responding to the Huskies, junior guard Lazar Stefanovic splashed back-to-back 3-pointers to knot the score at 13, seemingly erasing the foul-ridden start.

The deadlock didn’t last long.

As the quarter ticked on, Washington’s scoring took off, with the Huskies completing nine consecutive field goals in under six minutes. Throughout the run, Washington inflated its 3-point percentage to 77.8% as its advantage leapt to eight points.

The other end of the floor had the opposite results.

UCLA missed nine straight field goals toward the end of the half, until sophomore guard Dylan Andrews snapped the streak with a jumper to cut Washington’s lead to nine – the same advantage it would carry into the break.

In the second half, UCLA’s Leap Day woes persisted.

Brooks boosted his total to 20 points with less than 12 minutes remaining, largely thanks to a career-high five 3-pointers. Up to that point, the forward completed as many shots from behind the arc as UCLA’s entire squad as his team continued to grow its lead, which reached as much as 20 midway through the second.

The Bruins made a final push to chip away at the Huskies’ dominance with a 6-0 run in under 30 seconds, bringing the score to 69-57 with just over nine minutes to go.

Despite the late efforts, Washington’s 15 made 3-pointers – capped off by a last-second heave from guard Sahvir Wheeler – sank UCLA’s chances at a victory and contributed another anecdote to the old wives’ tales on the unluckiness of Leap Day.

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Grace Whitaker | Sports senior staff
Whitaker is currently a senior staff writer on the football, men's basketball and women's basketball beats. She was previously an assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, women's soccer, beach volleyball and cross country beats and a contributor on the women's basketball and beach volleyball beats.
Whitaker is currently a senior staff writer on the football, men's basketball and women's basketball beats. She was previously an assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, women's soccer, beach volleyball and cross country beats and a contributor on the women's basketball and beach volleyball beats.
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