Eugene, OR – The No. 7-ranked UCLA Bruins used a strong second half surge to take control of the game and defeat Oregon 70-63 in front of over 10,000 fans at Matthew Knight Arena on Saturday night. Jamie Jaquez Jr. led the Bruins with game-highs of 25 points and 12 rebounds. Jermaine Couisnard led the Ducks with 19 points, 18 of them coming in the second half.
The game started promising for Oregon as they scored the first eight points pf the game, helped by a three-pointer from Rivaldo Soares (9 points). In an indication of what was to come, UCLA came right back and scored eight straight points of their own to tie the game, and then took a 14-10 lead. The teams battled fairly evenly through the half with the Ducks taking a 33-30 lead into the break. During the half Oregon’s 6-11 center N’Faly Dante was easily the best player of the floor. The senior totaled 11 points, eight rebounds and two blocks by halftime and helped get the Bruins’ centers Adem Bona and Kenneth Nwuba into foul trouble.
The second half was a different story from the start. The Bruins dropped coverage on Dante, restricting his movement and causing him to pass out of the post. Dante had only two points and one rebound in the half. Unfortunately, the other Oregon players didn’t make their shots. Oregon started the half missing their first six field goal attempts including four from deep and did not score a field goal for over the first seven minutes. On the other side Oregon’s defensive rotations seemed slow, especially on Jacquez Jr. who consistently connected on mid-range jumpers. He made three in a row in an 11-0 Bruin run that quickly gave them a ten-point lead. He followed that up with two three-pointers and two free throws. When that was done UCLA had a 55-41 lead with Jacquez Jr, scoring 16 second-half points and Oregon only eight.
Oregon did not threaten from then and UCLA put the game away with Jaylen Clark (13 points, 4 steals) scoring nine straight Bruin points which was followed by a Jaquez dunk for a 66-48 lead. Oregon ended the game on a 15-4 run that made the final score respectable. Couisnard was the only Oregon player to play with any kind of aggression in the second half. The rest of the team missed shots, committed turnovers and were beat on the boards. They committed nine second half turnovers to two for UCLA and were outrebounded by six. UCLA had a 16-3 edge in second chance points in the half.
Oregon wasn’t helped by an off night from point guard Will Richardson. The 6-5 senior didn’t score over 18 second half minutes and ended the night with only five points on 2-of-8 shooting and three turnovers. The power forward spot didn’t help as well with starter Nate Bittle scoreless over 11 minutes and Quincy Guerrier only scoring three points (a last minute three-pointer) in 17 minutes.
The teams shot basically evenly from the field but the Bruins took 12 more shots, helped by their 12-6 edge on the offensive boards and Oregon’s eight additional turnovers (16-8).
Oregon (15-11, 9-6) is back on the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament bubble and will need to redeem themselves on a road trip to Washington this week. Two wins against the Huskies and Cougars will go a long way in helping their tournament hopes.
This article was written by Carl Berman, Managing Partner of NetScouts Basketball. You can follow us on Facebook, or on twitter.
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