Enough signs were in place to suggest Washington really could walk out of Westwood with a win.
Until all those signs went away. The Huskies built a 14-point lead only to miss 14 straight shots. UW found a little momentum but another late cold spell.
If that wasn’t enough, star freshman guard and leading scorer Jaylen Nowell fouled out with around four minutes left in a 74-53 loss to UCLA on Sunday at Nell and John Wooden Court at the Edwin W. Pauley Pavilion.
UW (11-4, 1-1 Pac-12) ends its Southern California road trip by splitting games against USC and UCLA (11-3, 2-0).
With 17:11 left, Nowell hit a free throw to give the Huskies a 43-29 lead. It appeared UW was primed for a run until it went through one of its worst stretches of the season.
The Huskies missed 14 shots in a row. Bunnies, layups, mid-range looks and 3-pointers. Open shots and contested. None of them went in and it played right into the Bruins’ plan.
Each missed shot allowed the Bruins to get out into transition and go on a 13-0 run to take a 44-43 lead with 10:59 left.
UW got a few baskets when Nowell hit a layup and Noah Dickerson converted two straight shots with 8:04 remaining.
The Huskies wouldn’t hit another shot from the floor for nearly six minutes. Any attempt at a comeback only grew harder when Nowell, who shot 4 for 17 for 10 points, fouled out.
He was joined by Tacoma native David Crisp. He fouled out with less than two minutes left. Crisp scored 11 while Dickerson led the Huskies with 14.
Bruins guard Kris Wilkes went to work and put the game out of reach. He scored nine of his team’s 16 points for a 68-53 lead with 1:52 left.
Neither team shot well in the first half yet the Huskies did most of their damage early. They jumped out to a 21-9 lead with 12:23 left.
Then came the cold streak. UW missed eight straight shots and didn’t score until Nazier Carter broke through on a dunk with 1:13 remaining.
Carter’s basket was the only make during a 1 of 13 stretch for the Huskies. In all, the Huskies shot 39.4 percent from the field and 16.7 percent from deep.
It was enough for UCLA to cut the lead to 36-28 at halftime despite going 9 of 25 for 36 percent from the floor.
Ryan S. Clark: @ryan_s_clark