Portland thumps UCLA in 76 Classic
ANAHEIM – Drawing upon an ancient sports cliche, Portland guard Jared Stohl said his team’s shooting performance against UCLA felt like “throwing rocks into the ocean.”
For the Bruins, then, it might have felt like trying to shove a spoon into a slab of granite.
Stohl and T.J. Campbell scored 15 points each as Portland clobbered UCLA 74-47 Thursday night in the first round of the 76 Classic.
It was UCLA’s largest margin of defeat since losing 79-48 at Oregon on March 1, 2003, and worst under coach Ben Howland, now in his seventh season.
The Pilots (4-0) will play No. 22 Minnesota in the semifinals Friday. Portland, coming off a seven-point win over Oregon, never trailed.
“I’m very proud to have competed well against a great program,” Portland coach Eric Reveno said. “I’m very proud of our guys for not letting them get back on track.
“Maybe they were out of sorts today, but we kept them there and I’m excited about that.”
Malcolm Lee had 14 points and five rebounds and Drew Gordon 10 points for the Bruins (2-2), who will play No. 12 Butler in a consolation game Friday.
The Pilots, picked second in the West Coast Conference preseason coaches poll, knifed through UCLA’s defense with ease, scoring off the dribble and making 3-pointers.
Entering the game having made 52.1 percent of their 3-point attempts, the Pilots continued making a barrage of long-distance shots to bury the Bruins. Portland sank 11 of 19 3-pointers and shot 54.2 percent overall.
“I think we kind of feed off each other,” Campbell said. “When someone starts making shots, they kind of all start falling. Once we start hitting, you can’t stop us.”
Howland said his players needed to do some “soul searching” and remember what has led to the team’s since he took over the program during the 2003-04 season – a stingy defense.
“That’s what we’ve kind of hung our hat on at UCLA since I’ve been here,” Howland said.
“That’s what we’ve tried to build on, to be a good defensive team, and we didn’t look anything like that tonight. We’ve got to do a much better job to have a chance to beat anybody left on our schedule.”
It won’t get much easier for the Bruins after they play Butler, with games against No. 1 Kansas, previously ranked Mississippi State and No. 23 Notre Dame left on their non-conference schedule.
The Pilots did what the Bruins couldn’t – get stops on defense by employing an effective zone defense for most of the game.
UCLA shot 32.7 percent overall and 21.7 percent on 3-pointers. The Bruins converted just 6 of 14 free throws.
The 47 points were the fewest UCLA had scored since a 55-48 loss to Washington State on Feb. 5, 2004.
Bruins forward James Keefe, who had six points and six rebounds, acknowledged that the team lacked a competitive desire.
“Portland came out, and you could tell they were hungry,” Keefe said. “We didn’t match their intensity.
“It was really frustrating to see us perform that way, especially in our own back yard.”
Stohl made all five of his 3-point attempts to move up to third on the Pilots’ career list for 3-point baskets with 160, while Nik Raivio contributed 13 points and five assists.
UCLA forward Nikola Dragovic rejoined the team after serving a two-game suspension. Dragovic, who finished with three points, was suspended after he was arrested in an assault case. He was reinstated Tuesday.
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