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Basketball: A tough Turkey Day swallow for Bruins

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.

Here’s the Los Angeles Times story on the Portland game, and the LA. Daily News’ take on things.

Jeff Faraudo