Josh Shipp said it was hard to hear. Darren Collison said it was embarrassing. Alfred Aboya said it was worth hanging his head over.
After UCLA earned a national reputation for playing fearsome man-to-man defense under Coach Ben Howland -- especially after signature NCAA tournament wins in which Memphis shot only 31.6% in a loss two years ago and Kansas shot 41.4% in a loss last year -- the Bruins haven't been as scary defensively lately.
Overall, the sixth-ranked Bruins' (21-3, 9-2) field-goal percentage defensive average is 42.1%, which ranks UCLA 102nd in the country. In Pacific 10 Conference games, the field-goal percentage defensive average is 45.1%, which puts UCLA fifth in the conference behind Stanford, USC, Arizona State and Washington State.
"We pride ourselves on playing good defense, playing hustle basketball, so it's definitely hard to hear that," Shipp said.
"It's embarrassing when a team does shoot that high a percentage against us," Collison said. "It's February and we shouldn't have games like this."
In the last month, Washington shot 44.1% against the Bruins, Washington State 52.3%, Arizona 48%, Oregon 48.3%. And USC, which UCLA faces Sunday, made 60.9% of its shots in its 72-63 win over the Bruins last month.
When Washington guard Justin Dentmon, who had been averaging nine points a game, scored 20 on Sunday by beating Collison over and over off the dribble, Howland moved sophomore Russell Westbrook to defend Dentmon.
"We're not getting enough stops," Howland said. "Bottom line is, we're doing a good job on the offensive end when you look at our field-goal percentage (48.8%), but to allow opponents to shoot 45%, that's not low enough. That's pretty high."
Shipp said he couldn't pinpoint anything specific as to why UCLA might be a little worse on defense this year.
"We feel like we're playing hard defensively," he said. "I think it's somewhat the mental part of the other guys. We get their very best effort. Guys really seem to come to play against us."
Kevin Love, who is a likely candidate for the NBA draft after his freshman UCLA season, said he couldn't believe how fast his college career has progressed.
"It's already the middle of February," he said. "I remember last year at this time in high school I was already thinking about how I can't wait until March Madness because it was going to be crazy. Then all of a sudden I'm playing my first college game, now it's the middle of February."
While Love won't speculate on leaving for the NBA -- "I'm just focusing on his year," is his pat answer -- he sounded wistful when he noted, "I'll only have four more home games."
Luc Mbah a Moute, who is recovering from a sprained left ankle that caused him to miss UCLA's last two games, participated in shooting drills Wednesday and Thursday. He is expected to be involved in some full contact drills today.
Swingman Michael Roll, who has been out since Dec. 31 with a foot injury and who has played in only six games, continues to be unable to practice and was still walking with a limp Sunday. Roll, a junior, would be eligible for a redshirt season if he doesn't play again this year. Last week, Howland said "no" when asked whether he was considering Roll a redshirt candidate. This week, Howland said he didn't know whether Roll could return and when asked whether it was possible Roll could redshirt, Howland said, "Yeah, there's a chance."