UCLA falters on the end as soon as once more in loss to Ohio State

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By Calvin S. Nelson

Closing time continues to be the identical story for UCLA.

The Bruins preserve ending off themselves.

Given one other probability in opposition to a high quality opponent within the remaining minutes Saturday afternoon, the Bruins fell quick once more.

Late defensive breakdowns and staggering offense plagued UCLA throughout a 67-60 loss to Ohio State at State Farm Area within the CBS Sports activities Traditional.

The Bruins (5-4) couldn’t get the wanted stops in failing to notch what was their final probability at a high quality win for NCAA match resume functions earlier than the beginning of Pac-12 play later this month.

“We don’t have the desire proper now to shut out video games like this,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin mentioned, “particularly outdoors of our constructing.”

Already with out ahead Berke Buyuktuncel (ankle), UCLA discovered itself doubly shorthanded with 1:54 left after guard Sebastian Mack drove towards the basket, was fouled and landed with a thud alongside the baseline, spraining his wrist as he tried to interrupt his fall. Coach Tyler Lesher and Cronin came to visit to test on Mack, who left the sport.

Ohio State selected Adem Bona to shoot the free throws that Mack had been awarded and Bona made certainly one of two, chopping the Buckeyes’ result in 59-54.

Mack reentered the sport and made a floating jumper to tug UCLA to inside 59-56. The Bruins then performed good protection till the ultimate seconds of an Ohio State possession that ended with Jamison Battle burying a desperation three-pointer, the Buckeyes’ first make from that distance after that they had missed their first 14 makes an attempt.

“We must always have stepped up and defended it higher,” Cronin mentioned.

Ohio State ahead Zed Key, left, battles UCLA guard Lazar Stefanovic, heart, and ahead Adem Bona for the ball within the first half.

(Brynn Anderson / Related Press)

Cronin charted seven missed layups for his group to go along with its seven missed free throws, essential errors in a taut sport. The Bruins’ protection progressively light after a robust begin, persevering with a seasonlong development that Cronin mentioned he supposed to rectify by deeping his rotation on a group that includes seven freshmen.

“Actually, actually good groups get higher defensively within the second half; we worsen,” Cronin mentioned after UCLA allowed Ohio State to shoot 55.6% after halftime. “The one strategy to clear up that’s to be deeper as a result of no one’s going to turn out to be a sophomore or a junior till subsequent yr, so that you’ve received to reduce guys’ minutes so their fatigue lessens so we gained’t break down on the finish of the sport.”

When a reporter requested Bona about Ohio State gamers saying they ready for the Bruins’ physicality main as much as the sport, Cronin unleashed a cackle and mentioned, “I’m sorry, I wanted amusing.”

After including little of worth within the sport’s early going, Bona lastly made some strikes halfway by way of the second half. He took a lob from Dylan Andrews for a dunk and adopted it with a driving layup and a leap hook to provide the Bruins a 47-46 lead.

Mack led UCLA with 14 factors whereas making simply 5 of 16 photographs. Andrews added 13 factors and Bona had 12 for the Bruins, who made solely certainly one of 9 three-pointers and shot 38.1% general from the sphere.

What took Bona so lengthy to get going after he scored solely one level and missed each of his photographs within the first half?

“I’ve simply received to get higher photographs, get to my spots the place I do know I could make photographs,” Bona mentioned. “No speeding, taking my time.”

Cronin mentioned the sport was misplaced within the first half when his group pressured 10 Ohio State turnovers, held the Buckeyes (9-2) to 0 for 10 on three-pointers … and led by just one level.

“You’ve received to be up eight or 10 in that situation,” Cronin mentioned, “since you’re not going to close them out endlessly.”

With solely two video games left earlier than the beginning of convention play, Bona appeared to be tiring of the narrative that the Bruins had been younger and bettering given that they had misplaced three of 4 video games, failing to be at their finest when their finest was wanted.

“We’ve simply received to do the powerful stuff,” Bona mentioned. “It doesn’t matter if we’re younger or outdated, we’ve simply received to get the job performed. … We’re nowhere near the place we wish to be.”

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