The UCLA basketball team got a win, but it was not pretty as the Bruins were up-and-down for the majority of the game, yet managed to get the victory and revenge against Oregon State.
From the UCLA basketball fan perspective, for the first 12 minutes, the game against Oregon State felt like a drive on an open highway with the cruise control set at 65 mph. The wind was blowing through our hair. Portugal The Man’s “Feel It Still” had come on the stereo. The sun was going down in a beautiful transition to dusk. It was magical.
And then it got dark and we took a turn onto a dirt road full of bumps, boulders and uneven pavement. Sure it turned out to be a direct path to victory, but it was a pain in the arse getting there.
UCLA started the game the way they should start every game. The Bruins played with a fire that could take down half the nation. But as is common with this team this season, they eased up and let their opponent slowly creep back into the game. Example given, UCLA was up 32-19 with 8:21 left in the first half.
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The Bruins were shooting close to 58% at that point, but then the consistent inconsistency set in.
UCLA appeared ease up on the Beavers and they came chomping back. Alfred Hollins was quietly heading toward a game-high 24 points into first half which helped lead a charge that got Oregon State to within six at the half as UCLA led 42-36. Though there was a bit of a comeback, the Bruins held the Beavers at bay.
After the break, UCLA tried to emulate the energy they began with in the first half., but unfortunately, it was Oregon State that continued their comeback. Five minutes after the break, they took the 49-48 lead.
Luckily the Bruins were not completely out of gas and made a determined effort to take control of the game. They did not give up the lead after that.
Thomas Welsh once again came through as he not only grabbed his 15th double-double of the season with 15 points and 17 rebounds. but also broke his personal best for rebounds in a game.
Aaron Holiday started out slow, but eventually worked his way to a 17 point, 10 assist performance, the third of his career. Kris Wilkes scored 10 points, while Prince Ali put up 11 of his own off the bench.
It was a win, but a rough one. As of now, the Bruins stay two games back from Arizona who won tonight. USC got a victory and remain tied with the Bruins in conference at 9-5, though the Bruins currently hold the tie-breaker. It could be tough to win the Pac-12 at this point (though not impossible), but right now the Bruins need to focus on getting as many wins as they can, if only to boost their NCAA tournament resume.