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Pauley Sucks Life Out Of Cougars WSU Drops 32nd In Row On Ucla Court While Suffering Worst Loss In Six Years

First, the positive part of Washington State’s “performance” in Thursday night’s Pacific-10 Conference basketball opener at Pauley Pavilion:

“We don’t have to come back to this friggin’ place this season,” coach Kevin Eastman said.

Now for the ugly part:

UCLA outworked, outmuscled and out-everythinged the Cougars in posting an absurdly easy 84-56 victory that kept WSU winless here in 32 tries.

The defeat was WSU’s most lopsided since a 94-63 loss to Stanford on Jan. 12 1991, a span of 177 games.

“I think it’s a matter of a good basketball team playing a team that has to be at 100-percent efficiency level, and we weren’t even close,” Eastman said.

The frenetic Bruins (6-3) whipped the Cougars (8-4) with defense, using a full-court press, tenacious zone and the intimidation tactics of shot-blocking center Jelani McCoy.

For WSU, there were bad signs from the beginning, starting when McCoy vetoed Carlos Daniel’s dunk attempt in the first 4 minutes. The Cougars got the message, rarely venturing inside again.

But the clincher may have come 12 minutes into the first half, when UCLA point guard Cameron Dollar, who normally might have trouble locating the basket using sonar, canned his second straight outside jumper.

It would get worse, bottoming out when consecutive alley-oop dunks by Charles O’Bannon prompted an unpleasant, yet ultimately harmless sideline argument between Eastman and standout guard Isaac Fontaine.

Fontaine had been frustrated all night, picking up his third and fourth fouls during a 2-minute stretch that encompassed halftime, and didn’t concur with Eastman’s decision to bench him for good after O’Bannon’s second slam with 6:20 remaining.

Afterward, Fontaine and Eastman dismissed their spat as nothing more than a heat-of-the-moment situation between highly competitive people.

Thursday night’s performance was UCLA’s most impressive of the season. The Bruins played selfless basketball, typified by Toby Bailey, who finished with seven points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals.

Bailey, who usually plays shooting guard, started ahead of Dollar at the point and helped get everyone involved early. Henderson was the primary beneficiary, helping the Bruins jump to leads of 15-5 and 27-12.

O’Bannon led UCLA with 15 points. Henderson, McCoy and Kris Johnson also reached double figures. Daniel scored 13 and Fontaine 12 for WSU, but Daniel, who entered the game leading the Pac-10 in rebounding at 8.4 per game, grabbed just two against the Bruins. UCLA outrebounded WSU 39-23.

Beyond sheer talent, several factors may have contributed to the stark contrast between each team’s performance. Most obvious, the Bruins had four days to prepare while the Cougars had just one.

“We had the most intense, most demanding and most difficult stretch of practices that we’ve had since I’ve been coach,” said UCLA’s Steve Lavin, who stepped in on an interim basis after Jim Harrick’s firing. “And I think you saw some of the fruits of that tonight.”

The Cougars, who get a chance to rebound Saturday night against USC, were coming off far better performances in close losses to Georgia and Michigan, which was ranked No. 4 at the time.

“But that’s what UCLA is capable of,” Eastman said.

Washington St. (8-4) - C.Johnson 2-3 0-0 4, Daniel 5-10 3-5 13, Jackson 0-5 0-0 0, De La Fuente 0-2 0-0 0, Fontaine 3-6 4-4 12, Archibald 3-9 2-3 9, Mack 2-2 0-0 4, Pengelly 0-1 0-2 0, Slotemaker 1-1 3-4 5, Crosby 3-11 1-2 9, Mott 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-51 13-20 56.

UCLA (6-3) - O’Bannon 7-10 0-1 15, Henderson 7-10 0-0 14, McCoy 6-8 0-3 12, K.Johnson 5-10 1-2 13, Bailey 2-6 3-5 7, Dollar 2-3 2-4 6, Myers 0-0 3-6 3, Loyd 2-3 1-1 7, Farnham 1-3 0-0 2, McGautha 2-2 0-0 5, Sylvester 0-1 0-0 0, Parker 0-0 0-0 0, Harbour 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 34-56 10-22 84.

Halftime-UCLA 44, Washington St. 27. 3-Point goals-Washington St. 5-18 (Fontaine 2-4, Crosby 2-6, Archibald 1-5, Jackson 0-3), UCLA 6-12 (Loyd 2-3, K.Johnson 2-4, McGautha 1-1, O’Bannon 1-2, Bailey 0-2). Fouled out- Archibald. Rebounds-Washington St. 23 (Fontaine 4), UCLA 39 (McCoy 8). Assists-Washington St. 13 (Pengelly 4), UCLA 20 (Bailey 6). Total fouls- Washington St. 21, UCLA 15. A-8,350.

, DataTimes MEMO: Changed from the Idaho edition

Changed from the Idaho edition


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