Even from television (where I watched), you could see the frustration on the faces of UCLA players. It was most apparent in the exasperated look of Joshua Smith.
I'm sure the sophomore who attended nearby Kentwood High wanted to win in front of family and friends - and he sure tried to make it happen with a career high 24 points to go with nine rebounds. Instead, he couldn't wrap his hands around the ball to attempt one last shot to try and force overtime after Norman Powell missed a baseline jump shot in the closing seconds .
It was a devastating loss. The Bruins took a double-digit lead before crumbling down the stretch. Travis Wear sprained his ankle and the starting forward isn't expected to play today at Washington State. Peter Yoon at ESPN.com specifically said the Bruins won't win the Pac-12 regular season championship after the loss.
It's a tough pill to swallow for Coach Ben Howland, his team and the fan base. One of the most challenging but rewarding things about UCLA is the expectation levels are sky-high. Not winning the conference is a letdown.
That doesn't mean this season can't be recovered, but it's definitely on red alert. The Bruins (12-10, 5-5) have nine games left and likely need to finish no worse than 8-2 to still have a shot at an at-large NCAA Tournament bid. That won't be easy with trips to Arizona, Arizona State and St. John's still on the schedule. The Bruins will also need to win at home against rival USC and NorCal rivals Cal and Stanford.
At the very least, UCLA should feel confident today in its trip to Beasley Coliseum in Pullman, Wash. The Bruins have won 18 consecutive games in the building, dating back to Feb. 6, 1993. I was still in high school - UCLA freshman Norman Powell wasn't born yet - and Ben Howland was still an assistant coach.
If UCLA wants to recover its season, it's got a long road in front of it, and it starts today.