UCLA basketball loses at Arizona State in triple overtime – Los Angeles Times

TEMPE, Ariz. — 

It was a debacle in the desert, UCLA doubling down on disappointment.

Two days after losing a chance to take ownership of the top spot in the Pac-12 Conference standings, the third-ranked Bruins fell flat against a team that had logged just one victory since the middle of December.

So many things went wrong for the Bruins in Saturday’s 87-84, triple-overtime loss at Arizona State. Johnny Juzang missed one jumper after another. Cody Riley had a couple of shots blocked. Jules Bernard struggled so mightily that he was benched in favor of David Singleton. Jaime Jaquez Jr. committed a boneheaded play near the end of the first overtime.

Arizona State's Marreon Jackson shouts as the crowd cheers his three-pointer Feb. 5, 2022, in Tempe.

Arizona State’s Marreon Jackson, who scored 24 points off the bench, lets out a yell as the home crowd cheers his three-pointer.

(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

More jarringly, UCLA was outclassed by a team that entered the game with more than twice as many defeats as victories.

It added up to a draining defeat, fans storming the court at Desert Financial Arena in celebration when it finally was over.

“There’s great responsibility when you play at UCLA and you’re coming off a Final Four,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said.

“Teams can’t wait to play you, fans can’t wait to see you, and we weren’t ready for that this week.”

The blank expression on Juzang’s face said it all as he walked to the bench after fouling out with 31 seconds left in the final overtime and his team down by four points. After leading the Bruins in scoring in regulation, he failed to score in the extra periods.

UCLA made one final push after falling behind by six. Jaquez made a driving layup and the Bruins immediately forced a turnover before Tyger Campbell drove for a layup with seven seconds left to make it 86-84.

Arizona State’s Marreon Jackson was fouled and made one of two free throws with 6.3 seconds left, giving the Bruins one more chance, but the Sun Devils fouled Jaquez before he could get off a three-pointer. Jaquez missed the first free throw, intentionally missed the second and teammate Peyton Watson chased down the rebound in one corner but couldn’t get a shot off in time.

Cronin said he was most infuriated by off-the-ball fouls committed by Riley, Campbell and Bernard when he team held slim leads, allowing the Sun Devils to rally.

“Pushing a guy, running over a guy, you know the plays I’m talking about,” Cronin said. “You’ve seen us play and we don’t do that.”

Jaquez finished with 27 points and Juzang added 20 for the Bruins, who failed to complete opportunities to prevail near the end of the first and second overtimes.

UCLA gave up back-to-back three-pointers to start the third overtime and could not complete one final comeback after wiping out an 11-point deficit early in the second half.

The Bruins (16-4 overall, 8-3 Pac-12) fell into a tie with Oregon for second in the conference standings, 1½ games behind Arizona, after dropping their second game in three days. It’s the first time all season UCLA has lost consecutive games.

The Bruins' Jaime Jaquez Jr. attempts a three-pointer over Arizona State's Kimani Lawrence in the first half Feb. 5, 2022.

The Bruins’ Jaime Jaquez Jr., who had 27 points and 11 rebounds, attempts a three-pointer over the Sun Devils’ Kimani Lawrence.

(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

The Bruins nearly beat themselves at the end of the first overtime. Inbounding the ball from three-quarters court with 1.4 seconds left, Jaquez hurled a pass that sailed over Myles Johnson out of bounds along the far baseline.

“No excuse for it,” Cronin said. “We have a listening problem. He was told not to throw a lob, not to throw it long, to throw a line drive right to Myles and I wanted the guy to try to reach in on Myles and foul him, so right now we’re really struggling to execute the game plan.”

That gaffe gave Arizona State (7-13, 3-7) the ball on its side of halfcourt with no time having run off the clock. D.J. Horne got a good look from the corner, but his three-pointer at the buzzer bounced off the side of the rim.

The Bruins were outshot 40.3% to 37.2% by a team that ranked last in the Pac-12 in shooting percentage. The Sun Devils, who also resided in the conference cellar when it came to three-point accuracy, also made a respectable 11 of 32 shots (34.4%) from long range.

“You’ve got to win when you don’t make shots, because that happens,” Cronin said. “You’ve got to defend. We had 21 deflections in 55 minutes. Our defense is right back to the drawing board.”

The same could be said for a lot of things that failed the Bruins during their week in the desert.