The UCLA Bruins (17-5, 6-3) were so close to having sole possession of second place in the Pac-12. Instead, they managed to come out flat in the second half of a game that started out so well. Oregon State (13-8, 5-4) was able to power through and steal a win as they defeated UCLA, 71-67.
So this was a seesaw battle in large chunks. The start of the game had the Bruins and Beavers going back and forth in scoring. Oregon State’s big men Roberto Nelson and Eric Moreland were using their skills and big bodies to hit the Bruins from the outside in. Nelson was draining threes, five feet beyond the arc as Moreland was slicing through the Bruin’s zone defense.
Just past the 10-minute mark, the Bruins started to put the pressure on with some defense. Tony Parker made himself known in the middle as he was grabbing rebounds early, although he only ended up with four. With this unexpected defense, UCLA was able to get their transition game going, which the Beavers could not stop.
Even Bryce Alford played a bit of defense. On one particular play, he blocked Oregon State’s Malcolm Duvivier, came away with the ball and sent an outlet to LaVine, who missed the shot, which was able to get followed up by a streaking Kyle Anderson. There was plenty of action to go around for all the Bruins.
Unfortunately, the Beavers were able to chip away at that lead and got the game to within two with UCLA leading 31-29 at halftime.
Oregon State continued their aggressive play to start the second half as they re-captured the lead. Things were going the Beavers way until an elbow was thrown.
At the 12:14 mark, Alford was able to draw a technical on Devon Collier during a dead ball while jostling for position. Instead of Oregon State going up by five (with a free throw to pending), Jordan Adams hits two free throws and was able to shift the momentum UCLA’s way.
Unfortunately, the Beavers had some pressure of their own. Even though UCLA was able to limit Nelson, OSU’s leading scorer, to 12 points, other Beavers stepped up. Freshman Hallice Cooke, who only averages 6.8 points per game, had 20 points, 4 out of 6 were from the 3-point line. It was painful, but UCLA battled back.
Up by ten, with 5 minutes left in the game, the Beavers went into full-on meltdown mode as they allowed UCLA to get to within one point.
With a chance to take the lead on a fast break, Anderson dished off to Adams who was cutting to the baseline, only to be called for charging on Angus Brandt (who did not seem to be set in his defensive position) with 14.2 seconds left.
That was basically it. The Beavers were able to stay in front and lock up the win. UCLA, who has been great at finishing games lately, was unable to finish off the Beavers and now goes into a tie for second place in the Pac-12 with Cal, two games behind Arizona.