Losing is never fun, but losing like this is an entirely different matter.
UCLA squandered an early 11-point lead and turned what looked like a breakthrough performance into arguably its most frustrating effort as Texas turned the tables with a 69-59 nonconference victory on Saturday at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
This loss should nag UCLA (2-5) and the coaching staff like a flu that just won't go away. The Bruins looked like a new team early, playing aggressive on defense and looking ready to capture their first marquee win of the year with a 34-23 lead with 1:54 remaining in the first half.
Instead, the Bruins watched Texas bull rush by them with a 15-4 run during a span that lasted nearly four minutes at the end of the first half and start of the second.
It was an act of aggression that the Bruins couldn't effectively respond to and recover from. Texas guard J'Covan Brown, who led the Longhorns (5-2) with 22 points, said his team showed its physical side with lots of screens on the offensive end.
"We just wore them down," Brown said, despite limping out of the media conference room. "Coach told us to keep hitting them with screens and they'll stop trying to run through it. I know I hate it in practice when you have to hit screens constantly. It just wears your body down."
Texas freshman guard Myck Kabongo finished with 13 points and eight assists in the win. He said Texas made it a point to push UCLA into a corner.
"I could tell you one thing - basketball is not a physical sport. No one wants to get hit and we were hitting them," Kabongo said.
Bruins forward Travis Wear admitted Texas used a lot of clock on their offensive possessions, which made things more difficult for the Bruins.
"They were taking a lot of time off the shot clock, wearing us down," said Wear, who had 13 points and four rebounds in the loss. "You play defense for 25-35 seconds and your fundamentals break down."
That helped Texas shoot better than 70 percent in the second half, which they outscored UCLA by 16 points.
"Texas got behind in the first half and they were patient and kept running their stuff," Wear said. "We when we got down, we really didn't bounce back."
That's why this loss shouldn't be treated like UCLA just has to wash it clean. If the Bruins really want to rebound from their slow start this season - this should be a scar to remind them of what's necessary to prevent it from happening again.