I’ll say this for Oregon (14-6, 2-6), they are fast. They play fast, they steal fast and they even pass fast. Whenever the Ducks would get the Bruins off of their game, all they had to do was make the extra pass and the Bruins would not be able to rotate over on defense in time. But UCLA (16-4, 5-2) seemed to have an edge coming out of the gate and eventually at the buzzer as the beat the Ducks 70-68 in Eugene, Oregon.
Basically, it came down to both teams overcoming a sloppy first half. Fouls were plentiful, shots were not being knocked down and the turnovers were ridiculous.
Here are the bad statistics for the first half:
UCLA: 7, Oregon: 11
UCLA: 9-for-23, 39.1%, Oregon: 12-for-29, 41.4%
UCLA: 9, Oregon: 7
The second half started to the benefit of UCLA. In the first five minutes, UCLA held Oregon to 2 points while Norman Powell started to dominate for the Bruins. More on him in a second.
Even though Oregon would fight their way back, the Bruins seemed to have all the control in this game. At some point you realize size versus speed is going to favor one of the teams and UCLA’s height was something the Ducks could not conquer.
The Bruins were completely out-hustling Oregon as they were diving for balls on the ground and generally running Oregon out of their own arena.
Now, let us talk Norman Powell. You can start associating words with him like: posterize, dominating and uber-athleticism. Powell was on fire in the second half and he played like the veteran he is. When no one was able to be consistent, he not only stepped up, but shoved the ball down Oregon’s throat. He finished with 17 points and another Sports Center Top 10 play.
GIF: UCLA’s Norman Powell Puts Richard Armadi On A Poster http://t.co/kOg2N7o7FV
— Steven Flowers (@Storm195324) January 31, 2014
Remember Russell Westbrook in blue and gold a few years ago. Powell is the current version of that.
Oregon did manage to chip away at an 11-point lead and get the back in front by three with 1:11 left in the game, but UCLA would not let them finish.
Tied at 68, UCLA had the ball for their last position. Killing the shot clock and trying to score with time winding down, Kyle Anderson, who did not have a great game, tried to take it to the hoop, only to miss. The ball took a lucky bounce into the hands of Travis Wear who floated in the game winner.
Oregon had one last chance to score with 5.3 seconds left, but Oregon’s tiny guard Jonathan Lloyd tried to take it the length of the court for the tie, but got blocked by Anderson with less than a second left. Oh my! What started out sloppy and boring, became a great game between two of the most offensive minded teams in the Pac-12 who finally got their game going. Bruins roll and Ducks continue to live in misery.