UCLA No. 9 hosts Washington trying to shake two-game skid – Orange County Register

UCLA makes it a habit to do things in pairs. Of course, most baskets are worth two points, but this correlation is weak fruit. However, there’s a deeper correlation when it comes to twos for the Bruins: losing by twos.

Ninth-ranked UCLA has just four losses this season, the losses coming two at a time.

The first time was in Las Vegas, then in Illinois and Baylor in mid-November. The Bruins responded with a 14-game winning streak, including wins at College Park against Maryland and at Madison Square Garden against Kentucky — in the same week. This included two away wins against the Washington Schools.

Well, here they are again, amidst two losses, one to Arizona (58-52) in Tucson and one to USC (77-64) last Thursday.

It’s wishful thinking that UCLA will rip off another 14 straight wins. However, it’s not far-fetched to think the Bruins have a decent chance of putting themselves back in the victory column with an opportunity against Washington in a Pac-12 conference matchup at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Pauley Pavilion on FS1.

“We don’t talk about winning or losing as much as you think,” said UCLA coach Mick Cronin. “I understand if you’re a fan, it’s the bottom line…You have to focus on getting better. Even if we win, I might think we didn’t play well. There are partitions to a season. You’re always working to get better and you’re always working towards March.”

UCLA (17-4, 8-2 Pac-12) achieved their biggest margin of victory against a conference opponent this season when they defeated the Huskies 74-49 on Jan. 1 in Seattle. Four UCLA players had double digits, led by Adem Bona’s career-best 18 points in 8-of-10 shooting.

One reason UCLA is the favorite Thursday night is that the Bruins are not easy to beat at home. UCLA is 11-0 at Pauley Pavilion this season and 36-2 at home as of the 2020-21 season. Cronin believes defending home court is an essential part of a strong March resume.

“You have to win at home,” Cronin said. “If you want to play for a conference championship, you have to win at home. If you want to go high in the NCAA tournament, you have to try and stay undefeated at home.”

UCLA was out of character in their last loss to USC, spinning the ball more than the Trojans. It was the first time UCLA had done this all year. A trend or an anomaly?

“Very rare for us in our last game to turn the ball and give up 20 points less turnover,” Cronin said.

However, Cronin pointed to a common denominator in the last two losses.

“You have become physical. We’re a low foul team, we need to make adjustments to the way the game is called,” he said.

https://www.ocregister.com/2023/02/01/no-9-ucla-hosts-washington-seeking-to-shake-two-game-skid/ UCLA No. 9 hosts Washington trying to shake two-game skid – Orange County Register

Russell Falcon

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