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March 3, 2007
No. 2 UCLA falls at Washington
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SEATTLE -Jon Brockman couldn't stop complimenting UCLA, from its bevy of talented players, to the Bruins' suffocating defense.
On Saturday, the compliments were best left for Brockman and Washington.
The Huskies bruising forward scored 20 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and Washington logged its biggest win of the season, a 61-51 upset of the second-ranked Bruins.
The Huskies used their own stifling defense, combined with superior inside play from Brockman and freshman center Spencer Hawes to physically match the Bruins' grind-it-out style.
"They outphysicaled us. They outplayed us in every aspect of the game and it's embarrassing," UCLA's Arron Afflalo said. "I don't know what we were resting on."
UCLA (26-4, 15-3 Pac-10), had little to play for with the Pac-10 Conference regular season title already wrapped up after an emotional 53-45 win Thursday night at No. 13 Washington State.
But Washington (18-12, 8-10), needed the victory for momentum heading into next week's conference tournament, which it likely must win to make the NCAA tournament. Now Washington heads to Los Angeles riding wins over No. 23 USC and now the Bruins.
"We can enjoy this all we want, but the fact of the matter is they're No. 2 in the nation, they're going to be in the tournament and we've still got some work to do," Brockman said.
Brockman and Hawes have combined for bigger games both with points and rebounds, but never against an opponent the quality of UCLA. Hawes added 13 points and 15 rebounds, while Ryan Appleby scored 13, hitting three 3-pointers.
Brockman regularly chased down loose balls giving Washington extra possessions, while the 7-foot Hawes blocked shots and controlled the glass at the defensive end.
Washington outrebounded the Bruins 44-29, and the Huskies defensive effort as a whole came as a shock given that they entered the week last in the conference giving up 75 points per game.
UCLA shot just 31 percent, and while a number of shots rimmed in-and-out, Washington's defense also slowed the Bruins offense by forcing shots with the shot clock nearly at zero.
Josh Shipp led UCLA with 13 points, but the Bruins could not overcome a season-low 20 first-half points and three scoreless stretches of 5 minutes or more. Afflalo added 12, but guard Darren Collison missed on 13 of 15 shots and finished with five points, seven under his season average.
UCLA also missed its final five shots after trimming a 16-point deficit down to one. The 51 total points was a season-low, and was still nearly enough.
"I like that our guys fought back when we got down, but it's as disappointing a loss as we've had this season," UCLA coach Ben Howland said.
Washington led by 16 midway through the second-half, when Appleby capped a 9-0 run with a fallaway 3-pointer giving the Huskies a 48-32 lead with 9:43 left. UCLA called an immediate timeout as Washington's crowd erupted, urged on by the Huskies coaching staff pumping their fists and waving their arms.
Howland's timeout worked. Afflalo scored five straight points, starting a 14-2 run. Shipp capped the run with a 3-pointer and a driving three-point play that got UCLA within 50-46.
Lorenzo Mata then followed up Collison's missed drive and the lead was just two. A pair of Justin Dentmon free throws put Washington up four, but then Collison hit just his second shot - a step-back 3-pointer - to get the Bruins within one.
The Huskies freely admit that earlier in the season, they would have folded under the pressure of such a surge.
"I don't know if two weeks ago we would have been able to seal off all the leaks," Brockman said.
But the Huskies answered. Hawes tipped in a Dentmon miss and Shipp's deep 3-pointer hit off the rim, starting the Bruins' final scoreless streak. Brockman was also 4 of 4 at the free-throw line in the final 37 seconds, while Mata - a 37-percent free-throw shooter - also missed two free throws with 25 seconds left that could have brought the Bruins within three.
"Jon Brockman and Spencer Hawes were just beasts today," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. "They were twin beasts."