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UCLA basketball: Bruins trail Virginia Commonwealth at halftime

November 26, 2010 | 12:30 pm

UCLA has fallen behind again, and it couldn't get back up.

UCLA-logo The Bruins spotted Virginia Commonwealth the first eight points of their NIT Season Tip-Off consolation game, just as they had Villanova two nights earlier.

And it could have been worse. Much worse.

After falling behind by as many as 11 points, the Bruins had a chance to tie the score when Malcolm Lee's three-point attempt rattled out of the rim at the halftime buzzer, leaving VCU with a 40-37 lead at Madison Square Garden.

The Rams burned UCLA inside the paint and out for much of the first 20 minutes, leading to the early benching of Bruins freshman Joshua Smith for what appeared to be defensive lapses. But his teammates weren't much better against small, quick VCU.

A three-pointer by Bradford Burgess gave the Rams a 34-23 lead before the Bruins started chipping away at their deficit. Junior guard Jerime Anderson made a couple of nice assists, one to Brendan Lane on an alley-oop pass and another to Reeves Nelson for another dunk.

Then Lee started heating up from long distance, making a pair of three-pointers and a layup off a Smith steal before his shot that could have tied the score rattled out. Lee made three of four three-pointers and leads UCLA with 13 points.

The Bruins committed 12 turnovers in the first half and will have to take better care of the ball to leave New York with a victory.

--Ben Bolch, reporting from New York

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