For the first 20 minutes of UCLA’s basketball game against Oregon at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, OR, things were great as the Bruins’ defense held the Ducks to a mere seven baskets in 31 shots in taking a 37-24 halftime lead.
The second 20 minutes? Not so much as reality hit in the form of Oregon scoring the second half’s first 11 points while inducing turnovers and grabbing ten offensive rebounds in that time frame, and making 28 of 32 free throws for the game.
Meanwhile, the Bruins absolutely stunk at the charity stripe as they made only ten of 21 baskets there, including a pathetic one basket in eight tries during that awful second half.
In short, the Ducks showed what a first place team looks like – they are now tied with California atop the Pac-12 at 6-2 – in beating UCLA 75-68 in front of a large (and I’m sure hostile) crowd of 10,830 this past Saturday.
Guard Jerime Anderson, who fouled out after scoring ten points, said, “It’s devastating to lose after having a 13-point lead.”
It was the sixth time since 1964 that UCLA was swept in the state of Oregon, as losing to the Ducks and their Oregon State rivals this past weekend has buried the Bruins deeper in the conference standings with a record of 3-4 and 10-9 overall.
Oregon improved to 13-5 on the year.
Travis Wear led Ben Howland’s team with 17 points and seven rebounds, but his brother David, who had ten points and led everyone with nine boards, hyper-extended his left knee late in the game; it’s not known if the forward will miss any action.
Lazeric Jones was the other Bruin in double figures with 14 points, but he only had one assist.
As for the Ducks, E. J. Singler was the Bruin killer, particularly from the free throw line as he was a perfect eight for eight in the last minute and was 16-of-17 from the stripe in scoring a career-high 26 points, the second straight game that an opponent achieved a career high in points against UCLA.
It’s time for some brutal honesty, here, folks…
These Bruins, at least at this point, are an National Invitational Tournament team at best.
At this rate, the NIT, that consolation tournament for those not good enough for the NCAA Tourney’s field of 68, is where UCLA will be headed in the post season, for this simple reason:
They are simply not good enough for the NCAA Tournament and March Madness, as the only way that the Bruins will make the Big Dance will be for them to win the Pac-12 Tournament at Staples Center in March.
And right now, I really don’t see that happening.