Cal Poly Overcomes 18-Point Deficit to Upset No. 11 UCLA 70-68

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistNovember 26, 2012

No. 11 UCLA suffered its second disappointing loss Sunday evening, falling to the Cal Poly Mustangs 70-68.

It's not time to panic for Ben Howland's squad, but no one likes to lose two games this early. Falling to Georgetown last Monday was one thing, but allowing the Mustangs to rally from an 18-point deficit with 12 minutes left is another thing entirely.

Once Shabazz Muhammad put the Bruins ahead 51-33 with 12:21 remaining in the second half, it seemed like this one was in the bag. The Mustangs entered the game with two losses already, and a comeback seemed inconceivable. 

But that wasn't the case. The Bruins went cold while Kyle Odister and Co. caught fire. When Dylan Royer hit a three-point bucket with just over seven minutes remaining to cut the deficit to eight, this game really had an eerie feel to it.

Travis Wear and Jordan Adams tried to keep the Bruins afloat in the game's waning minutes, but Royer's sharpshooting and Odister's all-around heady play allowed the Mustangs to tie the game at 63 with just over three minutes left.

From there, the teams traded buckets once before the Mustangs took a three-point lead with 35 seconds left. Larry Drew II and Adams were able to tie the game at 68, but Odister was able to hit a pair of clutch free throws after being fouled by Norman Powell with 12 seconds left on the clock.

Powell and Adams each missed three-point attempts to finish the game, and UCLA would fall to 4-2 on the season.

This year is supposed to save Howland's job. Muhammad, Adams and Kyle Anderson provide an exciting young nucleus, and they have solid support around them, but it's not working well so far.

Muhammad scored 15 points and snagged 10 rebounds in the losing effort. Adams had 13 points, but Anderson scored just one point in 22 minutes of playing time.

Young teams take time to gel together, but this isn't exactly what Bruins fans were hoping for to start the season. 

UCLA will try to rebound versus Cal State Northridge on Thursday, while Cal Poly plays Saint Mary's on Saturday.