By Jeff Faraudo
Friday, November 27th, 2009 at 10:15 am in Basketball.
While we were gorging on turkey Thursday, UCLA lost again. This time by 27 points to Portland in the opening round of the 76 Classic in Anaheim.
Yes, Portland (4-0) is a decent club. The Pilots, coached by former Stanford aide Eric Reveno, recently beat Oregon, and they’re picked to finish in the top three of the West Coast Conference.
But . . . the loss was the most one-sided suffered by UCLA (2-2) since a 79-48 defeat at Oregon on March 1, 2003., during former coach Steve Lavin’s final season.
The Bruins, who shot just 32.7 percent in the 74-47 defeat, hadn’t been held to so few points since a 59-43 loss to Gonzaga on Nov. 24, 1999 — 10 years and two days earlier. UCLA’s three starting guards combined to shoot 6-for-23 with nine turnovers and 10 fouls.
Most shocking is UCLA’s failure against teams it routinely dispatches.The Bruins lost to Cal State Fullerton, 68-65 in double-overtime, on Nov. 17.
In six previous seasons under Ben Howland, the Bruins were 42-2 in pre-conference games against teams from non-BCS conferences. The two defeats were to 11th-ranked Memphis in 2005-06 and to UC Santa Barbara during the 2003-04 non-conference schedule, Howland’s debut season.
Now UCLA has lost twice to non-power schools in the same season, with a difficult matchup looming tonight against No. 12 Butler, coming off an 82-73 loss to Minnesota.