Hot-shooting Oregon scorches UCLA 82-64, 5 in double figures
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) Dana Altman’s stop sign went up and Oregon senior Joseph Young promptly blew right through it on his way to the rim.
That’s how in sync the Ducks felt during their 82-64 rout of UCLA on Saturday.
Midway through the second half a rare, hasty 3-point try had Altman with both hands in the air on the Ducks’ next possession pleading for more ball movement.
A moment later, Young sped by his coach along the sideline for a driving layup that put Oregon up by 19 and forced a UCLA timeout.
It was that kind of game for the Ducks (14-6, 4-3 Pac-12), who left the undermanned Bruins (11-9, 3-4) in the dust more often than not when they weren’t working for the best possible shot.
”We really talked the past couple of days about if we didn’t like what we got in transition, make them guard a little bit more,” Altman said. ”I liked some of our possessions.
”They went longer and I thought we got better shots because of it.”
Young led five scorers in double figures with 16 points as Oregon rode 75 percent shooting from the field in the first half and Dwayne Benjamin’s perfect game off the bench to the victory.
Benjamin added 15 points while going 6 of 6, including 3 of 3 beyond the arc. Elgin Cook had 11 points, and Jalil Abdul-Bassit and Ahmaad Rorie scored 10 each for the Ducks, who top the conference in 3-point attempts but tried just 13 and made nine in the rout.
Norman Powell led UCLA with 23 points. Kevon Looney, who fouled out, and Bryce Alford added 15 points each.
The Ducks, whose lead reached 21 points three times in the second half, finished the game shooting 33 of 53 (62.3 percent) to the Bruins’ 25 of 61 (41.0 percent).
”Credit to Oregon,” Alford said. ”They shot lights out and honestly, I’ve never seen somebody shoot that way, especially in the first half and continue the second half.”
Oregon also had a 31-28 edge in rebounds, led by Jordan Bell with seven.
Less than 48 hours after Oregon State’s zone defense flummoxed the Bruins into their second-poorest shooting game of the season in a 66-55 loss, UCLA found modest success against Oregon’s aggressive, switching man-to-man for most of the first half.
Alford had three 3-pointers and 11 points, and Looney scored nine as the Bruins were 12 of 28 (42.9 percent) from the field.
However, the Ducks made all that moot with their best first half of the season, hitting 16 of their first 20 shots, including their first six 3s, for a 42-21 lead by the 3:55 mark. Eight Oregon players contributed to the 46-31 halftime margin, though none had more than eight points as four Ducks had at least one 3-pointer.
”They like to come at you for 40 minutes straight,” Alford said. ”The pace was bad for us and we could never keep up with them.”
Even after the Bruins started the second half by hitting six of their first seven shots, they still were down 15 at 62-47 as Oregon kept humming along. UCLA never came closer than 13 points the rest of the way.
Powell scored 16 points in the second half for the Bruins and finished two shy of his season high.
The Ducks’ bench outscored UCLA’s 29-5. Four of Oregon’s five reserves scored and shot a combined 11 of 14.
”The last couple of games we feel like we’ve been moving the ball pretty well,” Benjamin said. ”Tonight it definitely shows that if we move the ball, everyone can make open shots.”
UCLA: Seven-foot freshman Thomas Welsh made his second start in place of Tony Parker (back spasms) and finished with four points and six rebounds. Alford, the Bruins’ leading scorer at 15.8 points per game who had a career-high 31 in an overtime win against Oregon last season, nearly hit his season average with 15 and had three of UCLA’s five 3-pointers.
Oregon: Saturday’s announced attendance was 7,301. With four home games remaining, the Ducks have yet to draw a crowd topping 9,000 – or what would have come close to filling their former home, 9,087-seat McArthur Court. It may take the return of Dana Altman’s predecessor, first-year Washington State coach Ernie Kent, with his Cougars in two weeks to attract Oregon’s largest crowd of the season at Matthew Knight Arena, which seats 12,364.
MORE THAN A RIM PROTECTOR
Bell blocked two shots against the Bruins, giving him 68 for the season. He came into the game with more blocks than 178 NCAA teams, including conference foes Arizona (64), Stanford (55) and Arizona State (44). Still, it was the 6-foot-9 freshman’s five assists on Saturday that impressed his coach. ”He’s just unselfish,” Altman said. ”He’s looking for open people. He has a nice little jump hook and he’s starting to develop some offense, but he is also a very good passer.”
PARKER’S ABSENCE A BIG ONE
UCLA coach Steve Alford felt playing without Parker was a big factor in the Bruins getting swept on their Oregon road trip. The 6-foot-9 junior was averaging 10.8 points and 7.8 rebounds in 18 starts before being sidelined. ”It’s not an excuse, but we’re not a deep team to begin with,” Alford said, ”and Tony being gone just doesn’t affect what we do offensively, it affects what we do on defense as well.”
OFF WITH THAT REDSHIRT
Altman inserted 6-10 freshman Roman Sorkin in the final minutes for the first time, and he responded with a 20-foot jumper off a pump fake from the top of the key for his first points as a Duck. The 18-year-old Serbian was seen working with assistant coach Mike Mennenga on that very shot after Oregon’s home win over Oregon State three weeks ago, not long after Sorkin joined the team. ”He’s going to play,” Altman said. ”He’s going to have opportunities. He came here to get an education but also to develop, and asking him to stay for five years is probably not practical.”
UCLA hosts No. 12 Utah on Thursday night.
Oregon plays at No. 7 Arizona on Wednesday night.