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Despite massive comeback, men’s basketball falls short once again against UCLA

Despite being down 22 points with 10 minutes left in the game, Stanford men’s basketball (15-7, 6-4 Pac-12) amassed a massive comeback against the UCLA Bruins (14-9, 6-4) and reduced its deficit to one point. But senior guard Chasson Randle missed a last second 3-point attempt off the backboard, sealing the team’s 69-67 loss.

Fifth-year senior guard Anthony Brown (left) led the Cardinal with 19 points and nine rebounds as the Cardinal mounted an epic comeback attempt after falling behind UCLA early but ultimately fell just short of their goal and dropped a tough 69-67 decision.(LAUREN DYER/ The Stanford Daily)
Fifth-year senior guard Anthony Brown (left) led the Cardinal with 19 points and nine rebounds as the Cardinal mounted an epic comeback attempt after falling behind UCLA early but ultimately fell just short of their goal and dropped a tough 69-67 decision.(LAUREN DYER/ The Stanford Daily)

“You can’t get behind by that many points in a collegiate game,” head coach Johnny Dawkins told GoStanford. “It just makes it that much harder especially against a good team. We dug ourselves a hole and we couldn’t quite climb out of it.”

A clutch three by junior forward Rosco Allen put the Cardinal within one, 68-67, with 4.8 seconds left in the game. When the Bruins successfully inbounded the ball, Stanford was forced to foul and put Bryce Alford at the line, who made only one of his free throws on his one-and-one. Despite being given a chance to win the game, Stanford failed to score and dropped its second game of the season to the Bruins.

Fifth-year senior guard/forward Anthony Brown led the Card with 19 points and 9 rebounds, while Allen and Randle notched 13 apiece.

Both teams struggled with cold shooting in the first half. Stanford shot 37 percent, better than UCLA’s 31 percent, and its top scorers, Brown and fifth-year senior center Stefan Nastic, only had six apiece. The Card, who came into the game ranked third in the nation on threes, went 3-of-10, whereas the Bruins went 5-of-9. Stanford’s 2-of-7 shooting from the foul line was uncharacteristic for the team, which has gone 71.2 percent from the charity stripe on the season. The Bruins also out-rebounded Stanford 26-20.

Although the Bruins led the Card for most of the first half, the game mostly remained a one or two-possession game until UCLA went on a run that put it ahead by 16 with 3:29 left in the half. The Bruins’ advantage came from their 3-point shooting — they went 5-9 from behind the arc — and their rebounding edge.

Although Stanford closed out the half with a 10-0 run before the intermission, putting it within six, UCLA scored the first eight points of the half to put the Bruins ahead 39-25 at the 17:35 mark. A 3-pointer by Norman Powell put the Bruins ahead of the Card by 22 with 11:23 left. While both teams continued to struggle with their shooting, UCLA was able to extend its lead with contributions from Powell and Alford.

“You can’t defend for 20 minutes — you have to defend for 40,” added Dawkins. “They were playing in a comfort zone and you can’t let teams play comfortable. We let them play comfortable for large portions of the night.”

The team will have to respond with a win in its next game against Pac-12 opponent USC. The last time the Card played the Trojans, Stanford had a sizable lead until the final minutes, when USC went on a 10-1 run and came within one point of tying the Card. Despite having pulled out a 78-76 win, Stanford will have to play a full 40 minutes of basketball on both ends of the court if it wants to leave Maples with this much-needed conference win.

“The one thing for me personally, is I never feel sorry for myself, you just have to pick it back up,” Brown told GoStanford. “We have eight games left and you have to take it one game at a time. It’s not the first time or first season that we have lost two or three in a row. We started last year losing two in a row so you just have to take it day-by-day. Just as fast as you can lose two you can win three or four.”

Stanford will play USC at Maples Pavilion Sunday, Feb. 8, at 5:30pm.

Contact Alexa Philippou at aphil ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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