Deep Three: Nothing is free for UCLA

We go beyond the arc following UCLA's 74-63 loss to Washington on Friday afternoon:


UCLA had the right idea: slow the game down, stop the clock, attack Washington's big men, get to the free-throw line.

The Bruins spent considerably more time at the stripe than did Washington. In fact, UCLA had more attempts in the first half (19) than the Huskies had for the whole game (15). It seemed like the right formula -- the Bruins had been a perfect 8-0 when shooting at least the same number of free throws as their opponents.

But what's the point of getting to the line if you can't convert? UCLA was 25-for-36 (69.4 percent) on free throws Friday, yet actually raised its overall season average from 64.6 to 65.2. It's probably not a good sign if even poor performances mark improvement.

"If you're going to beat the team picked to win the conference, you've got to make your foul shots," coach Ben Howland said. "You've got to shoot 80 percent, you've got to shoot 85 percent."

Here's the problem: Howland doesn't have one 80-percent free-throw shooter on the squad. Starting guards Lazeric Jones (79.4 percent) and Malcolm Lee (78.7) come the closest.


A pair of Washington forwards had themselves quite the homecoming Friday.

Junior Darnell Gant (Los Angeles, Calif./Crenshaw) nailed a clutch three-pointer to extend the Huskies' lead to nine with 3:21 to go, while senior Justin Holiday (Chatsworth, Calif./Campbell Hall) altered UCLA's attack by forcing Tyler Honeycutt into foul trouble early. Gant's make came on his only long-range attempt.

Holiday scored nine points and grabbed eight rebounds as younger brother and former UCLA guard Jrue Holiday (Philadelphia 76ers) watched from his seat directly across from the Bruins' bench. After making a three-pointer in front of UCLA's bench midway through the first half, the elder Holiday turned around and yelled something.

"I don't know what he said," Honeycutt said. "But he said something."

Holiday's taunting earned him a technical foul. He'll have bragging rights until the teams meet again on March 3 in Seattle.