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UCLA basketball: Similar story as Bruins lose to Michigan, 79-63

November 23, 2011 |  6:52 pm

UCLA has built a familiar template for its early-season games: Fall behind big, stage a rally and ultimately come up short.

The Bruins did it again Wednesday at the Lahaina Civic Center during a 79-63 loss to No. 15 Michigan in the third-place game of the Maui Invitational.

The Wolverines (5-1) led by 11 in the first half before the Bruins made it a five-point game midway through the second. Alas, another comeback fizzled in the final minutes.

UCLA (1-4) has lost to two nationally ranked teams and a pair of mid-majors; the Bruins might be winless had they not drawn Chaminade, a Division II school, in the opening round of this tournament.

There were few positives as UCLA's supposedly dominant front line continued to struggle, with the exception of sophomore forward Travis Wear, who had 16 points on six-for-10 shooting. Sophomore center Joshua Smith had 12 points  but six turnovers, and junior forward Reeves Nelson was essentially a non-factor with six points.

Senior guard Zack Novak scored 22 points on seven-for-eight shooting, making four of five three-pointers, and sophomore guard Tim Hardaway Jr. had 20 points for Michigan, which shot 61.7% to UCLA's 41.8% and outrebounded the Bruins, 32-24.

UCLA next plays Pepperdine on Monday at the Sports Arena, where the Bruins are already 0-2 against mid-majors.


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-- Ben Bolch in Lahaina, Hawaii

Photo: UCLA guard Jerime Anderson drives to the basket during the Bruins' loss to Michigan on Wednesday. Credit: Brian Spurlock / U.S. Presswire