Despite shooting just 33 percent, UCLA survived a scare by Washington when senior point guard Larry Drew II hit a fadeaway 15-footer at the buzzer for a 59-57 triumph at half-filled Pauley Pavilion Thursday night. C.J. Wilcox, who led Washington with 15 points, tied the game with a running layin at 10 seconds, but Drew, without a timeout, dribbled down the clock and past two defenders for the winner.
Washington fell to 13-10 and 5-5 thanks largely to 19 turnovers, 13 in the first half. The Huskies also missed 13 of 15 three-point attempts.
“We did everything right but take care of the ball,” said coach Lorenzo Romar. “That’s haunted us for the last three or four games. We have to find a way to take care of that.
“UCLA does a nice job of getting their hands up and getting deflections. It bothers us a bit, but we have to concentrate better than that. It happened to us at Oregon and at Arizona, and it happened tonight.”
A game after scoring 96 points in a home win against Arizona State, the Huskies had zero rhythm or offensive plan against the Bruins. Wilcox and Scott Suggs were uncharacteristically shaken. Suggs missed six of seven shots and Wilcox was just 7-of-16 from the floor, missing all six attempts from beyond the arc, while piling up six turnovers.
“It was the turnovers, because they were unforced,” said senior guard Abdul Gaddy. “We were doing it.”
Gaddy had one of his best games with 14 points and eight assists, plus UW’s two treys in the late going. Yet he made another critical late-game turnover. Trailing 54-53 nearing the final minute, Gaddy brought the ball up the floor and at midcourt casually threw the ball away, which UCLA converted into a breakaway layin by Shabazz Muhammad.
The dominant freshman led the game with 22 points, but missed 15 of 23 from the field and provided an open for the Huskies. But when they weren’t turning over the ball, they were hurling it recklessly at the hoop. The Huskies turned the ball over nine times in their first 22 possessions when they could have put away the Bruins.
The one consistently effective player was Aziz N’Diaye, who had 11 points and a career high 18 rebounds.
The fourth loss in five conference games means the Huskies are heading the wrong way in the homestretch.
“We have to make sure we don’t go on a tailspin,” Romar said. “We have to find a way to keep up our energy.”
The Huskies have two days on the road to think about it before meeting USC at 7 p.m. Sunday.