ANAHEIM, Calif. - One man's excellence could not reverse his team's recent negative trend Saturday night.
Penn's Tyler Bernardini scored a career-best 29 points, yet the Quakers sustained their fifth loss in seven games, 77-73 to UCLA at the Honda Center.
Bernardini - who added seven rebounds, three assists, and a steal - made 10 of 15 shots from the floor, including 8 of 12 from three-point range.
"I've put in a lot of work," the senior guard said. "Our whole team does. I needed to have confidence in myself in taking those shots and have confidence that they're going to go in.
"They were able to find me and I just did the easy part. My role within the team is going to grow as our team continues to get better."
Zack Rosen helped Bernardini by amassing 10 assists for the third time this season. But Rosen - ranked fourth nationally in three-point shooting - missed all seven of his attempts beyond the arc, made just 3 of 12 from the floor, and finished with a season-low eight points.
UCLA frustrated Rosen with an extended, trapping 2-3 zone that generated 15 points off turnovers and enabled the Bruins (3-5) to build a 60-46 lead with 10 minutes, 21 seconds to play.
"The crazy thing about it is that, although we've been watching film, we didn't see them play a lot of zone," Penn coach Jerome Allen said. "It bothered us in the first half and for the first part of the second half.
"I guess it wasn't until the seven- or eight-minute mark that we realized we could get the ball in the middle, get some quick reversals and attack the seams."
As a result, the Quakers (5-6) narrowed their deficit to 71-67 with 2:56 remaining. Then UCLA got lay-ins from Lazeric Jones and Joshua Smith to extend the margin to 75-68 with 1:56 left.
Yet, Penn was not finished.
After freshman Henry Brooks made two free throws in the bonus with 1:55 to play, Bernardini drove the lane for a lay-in against a physical double-team. But Bernardini missed and UCLA's David Wear grabbed the rebound with 1:15 left.
With 20 seconds remaining, Bernardini took a three-point shot that hit the rim. Brooks tried to secure the rebound but the ball glanced off his hands and out of bounds.
Trevor Lamb's free throw with 18 seconds to play gave UCLA a 76-70 lead. Then two plays involving Penn's Miles Cartwright proved decisive.
Cartwright tried a three-point shot with eight seconds left, but Jerime Anderson leaped to swat the ball out of bounds. When Cartwright attempted to inbound the ball on the ensuing possession, he exceeded the five seconds required.
Rob Belcore's three-point shot at the final horn gave him a season-high 13 points. Belcore added three steals.