UCLA Basketball

UCLA Basketball: What Went Wrong for Bruins in Sweet 16 Matchup vs Florida?

MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 27: Head coach Steve Alford of the UCLA Bruins walks off the court after losing to the Florida Gators 79-68 in a regional semifinal of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the FedExForum on March 27, 2014 in Memphis, Tennessee.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2014

Defeating Florida in the Sweet 16 was always going to be a difficult task for the UCLA Bruins, but Steve Alford's team had a chance to beat the Gators late in the game and they failed to get it done.

The Bruins came within a single point with 10 minutes and four seconds left in the game, but instead of pulling past the No. 1 seed, they fell victim to a championship-caliber run led by Scottie Wilbekin.

Below is a look at exactly what went wrong for the Bruins on Thursday night in Memphis.

 

Failure to Close

UCLA hung around for most of the game, but when the contest required the team to put in some extra energy, it failed to do so. 

After the Bruins cut the deficit to one point on Norman Powell's layup halfway through the second half, they missed their next four shots from the field. 

During that same three-minute span, Florida only scored two points of its own. 

That would have been the perfect time for the Bruins to seize the momentum and close out the semifinal clash, but it was not meant to be as the team failed to hit a field goal for five minutes after Powell's bucket. 

 

The Bruins Let Wilbekin Get Loose

After the media timeout concluded, Wilbekin took control of the game and proved just how valuable senior leadership is during one of the biggest matchups of the season.

MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 27:  Scottie Wilbekin #5 of the Florida Gators celebrates against the UCLA Bruins during a regional semifinal of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the FedExForum on March 27, 2014 in Memphis, Tennessee.  (Photo by Kevin C. C
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Wilbekin scored six straight points in a 45-second span, and in the process, he extended Florida's lead to 11 points. 

UCLA knew this effort was coming from the SEC tournament's MVP since the senior destroyed Pittsburgh in the third round, scoring 13 points in the final eight minutes. 

 

Michael Frazier II Finally Found His Groove

Heading into Thursday's game, the one Florida player who had not done well in the NCAA tournament was Michael Frazier II. 

MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 27:  Michael Frazier II #20 of the Florida Gators takes a shot against the UCLA Bruins during a regional semifinal of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the FedExForum on March 27, 2014 in Memphis, Tennessee.  (Photo by Kevin
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

That all changed after Frazier drilled his first triple with 13:47 left in the first half. 

Frazier went on to hit five of his eight three-point attempts, some of which were uncontested as the Bruins stood around and watched the sophomore work his magic from beyond the arc.

Frazier's success from three-point range was never matched by the Bruins, who shot 3-of-18 as a team from downtown. 

 

Kyle Anderson Wasn't Himself

In what turned out to be his final collegiate game, Kyle Anderson followed the same trend set by future-NBA stars Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker and failed to make an impact on the game in which his team was eliminated.

Anderson shot a meager 4-of-11, which resulted in just 11 points for the sophomore, who has already declared for the NBA draft. 

Anderson's struggles limited the UCLA offense, which relied heavily on the height and athleticism of the 6'9" guard.

 

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90. 

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