UCLA upset in double OT by Fullerton
November 17, 2009
LOS ANGELES – Cal State Fullerton outplayed UCLA for the better part of 50 minutes, exposing the Bruins as the young and inexperienced team they are.
UCLA opened the season out of the Top 25 for the first time in five years, and with a national television audience looking in Monday night, they hardly made a case for changing that anytime soon.
Aaron Thompson scored a career-high 22 points and Fullerton pulled off a 68-65 upset in double overtime, snapping a nine-game losing streak against the Bruins.
“For us, it’s such a big deal to come here and play UCLA and on ESPN was terrific,” Titans coach Bob Burton said. “I really appreciate (UCLA coach) Ben (Howland) giving the opportunity to do this because he’s such a good friend. He knew this was a possibility because they’re so young and they’re just starting out. I feel bad for that end, but obviously I’m really thrilled we won.”
Gerard Anderson added 14 points and Jacques Streeter 11 for the Titans (2-0), who blew a 10-point lead in the second half but rallied to outscore UCLA 8-5 in the second overtime.
Michael Roll and Malcolm Lee scored 17 points each for the Bruins, who lost a season opener for the first time since coach Steve Lavin’s final season in 2002-03, when San Diego won in overtime.
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“Every time we lose a little piece of me dies inside,” said sophomore Drew Gordon, who had 10 points and eight rebounds. “It’s not necessarily shocking as it is hurtful.”
The Titans had been 0-9 against UCLA, all at Pauley Pavilion, which drew 6,145 for a game that began at 9 p.m. PST. It was the start of ESPN televising 24 consecutive hours of college basketball games around the country.
“They won nine straight overall so just to break that little streak is great,” Anderson said. “It means big things for us.”
UCLA shot 31 percent from the floor, taking a whopping 84 shots, 5 of 29 from 3-point range and 8 of 17 from the free throw line. The Bruins were just 3 of 17 from the floor in both overtimes.
“I can’t remember the last time one of our teams took 84 shots even though it’s a double-overtime game,” Howland said. “We didn’t do a good job offensively. We’re going to have to live through some of these mistakes.”
The Titans used an effective zone to keep the Bruins shooting from the perimeter, and they tossed up miss after miss.
In the second overtime, Streeter scored four points, including a 3-pointer, to carry Fullerton.
“It feels real good because not too many teams come in here and beat UCLA at home,” he said. “It’s a real big win for us. It’s a real big statement that we wanted to make and hopefully we’ll win our Big West championship.”
The Titans made three free throws in the first overtime, while UCLA’s points came on a 3-pointer by Roll. The Bruins missed their first four 3s of the five-minute OT, then Lee missed another one as time expired to force another extra session.
“We have a lot of improvement to do,” Roll said. “Once Pac-10 rolls around, we’ll be hitting our stride.”
Near the end of regulation with the game tied at 57, Roll got fouled and missed the free throw with 30 seconds left. He then committed his first foul against Streeter with 9 seconds to go. Streeter made the first to tie the game at 57 and missed the second. Jerime Anderson’s jumper at the other end missed as time expired.
“I messed up,” Roll said. “I’ll be shooting free throws tomorrow.”
Anderson had three points, three assists and three turnovers in 40-plus minutes running the point for UCLA as the successor to Final Four veteran Darren Collison. Anderson had missed significant preseason practice time because of injury, like several other players on the team.
“We’re asking him to do a lot with short practice time,” Howland said. “He’ll shooter better. It’s a confidence thing.”
The Bruins trailed by 10 early in the second half when they used a 14-2 run to take a 47-45 lead – their first since late in the first half. Roll scored seven points, capping it with UCLA’s first 3-pointer of the game. Lee briefly left the game during that stretch with leg cramps. But the Titans outscored them 12-10 to end regulation.
The Bruins lost starters Collison, Josh Shipp, Alfred Aboya and Jrue Holiday, with Collison and Holiday taken in the first round of the NBA draft. UCLA has had six players taken in the first round in the last four years, putting Howland in perpetual reloading mode.
This season’s team is his youngest and least experienced going into his seventh year in Westwood.
“He’s losing so many pros every year,” Burton said of Howland. “I know his teams in the past would have probably put us away.”