The venue had changed. Washington coach Lorenzo Romar was wearing a different suit. The teams were in different versions of their uniforms.
But what stayed the same was UCLA throttling Washington with transition baskets off turnovers, just like it did during a prior win in Los Angeles.
The 23rd-ranked Bruins outscored Washington in points off turnovers, 29-9, during Saturday’s regular-season ending 61-54 loss for the Huskies.
It’s a staggering total in what was otherwise a taut, emotional Pacific-12 Conference game in Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
The strange morning tip-off time changed Senior “Night” to Senior “Morning.”
Abdul Gaddy, Scott Suggs and Aziz N’Diaye raised their framed jerseys during a celebration prior to the start of the game. Highlight videos of each ran during their introductions, showing memories of their time at Washington.
After the celebration, most of the Huskies forgot how to get back in transition.
UCLA’s first basket was a breakaway dunk for Travis Wear. The swifter Bruins ran at Washington whenever possible. After made baskets. After misses. And particularly after the aforementioned turnovers.
That approach snapped Washington’s three-game winning streak and made the Huskies (17-14 overall, 9-9 conference) settle on being the No. 6 seed in the Pac-12 tournament this week.
The Huskies will face 11th-seeded Washington State at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in Las Vegas.
Washington swept the Cougars
during the regular season. The winner plays third-seeded Oregon in the quarterfinals Thursday.
“We’ve been inconsistent all year,” Huskies guard C.J. Wilcox said. “Mentally, we’ve got to stay in it. There’s a possibility that if we lose our next game, it could be our last.”
Washington held a 31-30 halftime lead Saturday before two of the Bruins’ troika of famous freshmen got going in the second half.
Jordan Adams came out after halftime and was 3-for-3 early on jumpers to bloat UCLA’s lead to 40-33. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Scott Suggs and Andrew Andrews allowed Washington to lurch back into the game.
Late, it was left-handed menace Shabazz Muhammad doing damage for the Bruins (23-8, 13-5) on his way to a game-high 21 points. He and Suggs battled physically and verbally throughout the game.
“I think that really got me going when he was talking,” Muhammad said. “I like that trash talk, I just get determined and really focused.”
Still, Washington had its moments.
Up 52-48 with 5 minutes, 59 seconds to go after a Gaddy layup, Washington had multiple shots to stretch the lead. The cleanest look came for Wilcox following an offensive rebound by N’Diaye.
Alone at the top of the key, Wilcox rose and fired. He had missed other open looks during the game, an ongoing curse of the past few weeks. The crowd roaring, he released, was on line, and the ball rattled out.
Wilcox (3-for-13 overall, 2-for-8 on 3-pointers) shook his head about it after the game. He’s shooting 20.8 percent from behind the 3-point line the past 10 games.
UCLA coach Ben Howland clasped his hands together afterward in mock prayer and had one thing to say about that shot going out.
The game remained tight from there. An alley-oop to Shawn Kemp Jr. cut UCLA’s lead to 57-54 with 1:07 remaining.
But Larry Drew II, who won the game in Los Angeles with a buzzer-beating basket, struck again. The Bruins ran 30 seconds off the 35-second shot clock before Drew drove straight to the hoop on Suggs for a five-point lead with 33 seconds remaining.
Drew’s late shot gave the Bruins a 59-57 win on Feb. 7.
The Huskies sealed the victory for UCLA with a final turnover, their 19th of the game, when Andrews was stripped.
“I don’t have a lot to say,” Romar said. “It was pretty obvious to our team and me where the difference in that game was.”