Bruins Step Up Defense In Win Over Ducks
By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report
UCLA stepped up its defensive intensity in the second-half to rally from behind to beat Oregon, 75-65, before a crowd of 11,355 at Pauley Pavilion.
For the first thirty minutes of the contest, the Bruins played lethargically on both ends of the court and allowing the upset-minded Ducks to take the early initiative. When Oregon's Tajuan Porter hit a three-pointer with 4 seconds remaining in the first half, it gave the Ducks a 34-31 going into the locker room.
Many times this season, the Bruins have come out blazing to start the second-half after following behind early, but this time they came out with the same lethargy that plagued them in the first-half with the Ducks extending the lead to as wide as eleven points.
But then UCLA finally regrouped and found its voice in its defense. Applying intense pressure on the ball and aggressively playing the passing lanes, the Bruins began to force turnovers against the Ducks. UCLA went on a quick 6-0 run to cut the lead to just five, which was capped off by a steal and rousing dunk by Russell Westbrook that ignited the Pauley crowd.
The Bruins continued with a 12-5 run to finally catch the Ducks at 54-53 with just under six minutes remaining as Darren Collison stole the ball and got it up court to Westbrook for another crowd pleasing slam. It was UCLA's first lead since the opening minutes of the game.
For the game, the Bruins forced the Ducks into 19 turnovers.
Down the stretch, UCLA scored 10 of its last 12 points from the free throw line to secure the victory and series sweep of the Ducks .
Oregon's Tajuan Porter sparked his team early with hot outside shooting, but as he has done in previous games, his poor decision-making and propensity to take difficult shots cost the Ducks precious possessions in the second half when the team tried to withstand the fierce Bruin rally.
Darren Collison scored a team-high 17 points and Russell Westbrook added 16 points and five assists. Collison and Westbrook combined for seven steals to ignite the second-half Bruin rally.
Although UCLA finished with 50% field goal shooting, often the team struggled scoring from its halfcourt set. Similar to their past two contests, the offense spent too much of the shot clock dribbling or passing the ball on the perimeter, many times being forced to take difficult shots as the clock ran out.
Some of the team's difficulties on offense are attributable to opponents stacking up the paint to take away touches from center Kevin Love and coinciding with the Bruins' recent struggles with their perimeter shooting.
UCLA finished just 2 of 8 on three-pointers.
Junior Josh Shipp scored 10 points but he missed his only three-point shot attempt of the game and extending his drought from outside to 0 for 20 over the past five games. If the Bruins are to go deep into the tourney, they'll need Shipp to find his range soon and become a threat again.
Despite not playing one of his best games, Kevin Love still managed to finish with another double-double, scoring 15 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Love also contributed two length of the court outlet passes leading to easy scores during the Bruins' late rally. He had an uncharacteristically tough night at the line, making just 7 of 12.
The Bruins (24-3, 12-2) will pack their bags next week for a trip to the desert for tough match-ups against Arizona State and Arizona.
(photo credit: AP)
Labels: Game Summaries