Men’s basketball falls four points short of history

Bruins overcome 12 point deficit to beat Cougars in overtime

RYAN ROOT, Evergreen men's basketball reporter

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WSU men’s basketball lost an overtime heartbreaker to the UCLA Bruins 86-83 in the Pauley Pavilion Thursday night. 

WSU (14-11, 5-7) lost the opportunity to sweep its season matchup against the Bruins (14-11, 6-6) for the first time since 1937.

Junior guard Isaac Bonton led the Cougars with 23 points, and senior forward Jeff Pollard scored 20 points of his own; a new career high. Sophomore forward CJ Elleby scored 10 points on four of 18 shooting from the field while playing 42 minutes against UCLA.

UCLA junior guard Chris Smith scored the first points of the game after a scoreless two minutes from both sides to start the game. WSU scored its first points a minute later with a layup from Jeff Pollard; the score was then 5-2.

WSU gained the 10-7 lead with 14:28 remaining in the half after a corner 3-pointer from Pollard, his first made three since facing the Incarnate Word on Dec. 21. He scored seven points during a Cougar 12-2 run from 16:46 to 13:56.

Junior forward Tony Miller checked into the game with 12:19 on the clock. He contributed six points off the bench in the first half.

WSU led 22-20 with under eight minutes remaining, Elleby had yet to add to the scoreboard at this point. Elleby finally scored his first points with a 3-pointer with 5:14 left in the half coming off a senior guard Jervae Robinson assist.

WSU led 34-30 at halftime with Pollard leading the Cougars in scoring with nine points. Bonton and Elleby combined for 10 points in the first half

UCLA redshirt freshman guard Tyger Campbell led the Bruins with 12 points at halftime. The Bruins leading scorer this season, Smith, had 10 points of his own.

Bonton took the reins for WSU and scored eight of the team’s first 14 points of the second half. Pollard ran alongside Bonton and added two more 3-pointers to his total.

UCLA called a timeout shortly after with 14:17 left in the game as WSU held a 48-38 lead; the first double digit lead of the game.

UCLA quickly recuperated after its timeout and cut the lead down to 52-48 with 11:54 left in the game. Elleby scored his second basket of the night with 9:48 on the clock after going over 15 minutes without scoring.

Freshman Noah Williams received a flagrant one foul after defending a UCLA fastbreak, which was Williams’ fourth foul of the game. Campbell missed both free throws and did not score in the following possession. 

WSU remained in the lead 54-53 with 9:26 left on the clock

Pollard made his fourth 3-pointer of the game to tie the game at 61, a new career high for him.

With 1:33 left in the game, the game was tied at 67; a pair of Pollard free throws pushed WSU ahead 69-67. UCLA tied the game with 16 seconds remaining, and Bonton missed the game-winning shot as the clock hit zero.

WSU and UCLA went into overtime for the second time this season.

UCLA went on a 9-4 run to start overtime. UCLA’s redshirt sophomore forward Cody Riley scored 11 points on five of five shooting and a highlight block on an Elleby layup attempt.

Bonton went down with an injury with a little over a minute left on the clock and left the game. UCLA overcame WSU in a lop-sided overtime period and defeated the Cougars 86-83.

WSU will face the University of Southern California Trojans at 5 p.m. Saturday in the Galen Center in Los Angeles. The game will air on the Pac-12 Networks.