Thursday, September 21

UCLA men’s basketball fumbles with early advantage against Oregon

UCLA takes a 13-point lead against Oregon, only to drop the ball in lackluster play

Freshman forward Reeves Nelson is double-teamed in the key during the second half of Thursday's 71-66 loss in overtime to Oregon.

Freshman forward Reeves Nelson is double-teamed in the key during the second half of Thursday's 71-66 loss in overtime to Oregon. Maya Sugarman

EUGENE, Ore. “”mdash; The UCLA men’s basketball team has not played with many leads this season, never mind double-digit advantages.

But the Bruins found themselves holding a 13-point lead in the first half of Thursday’s 71-66 overtime loss to Oregon at McArthur Court.

The lead allowed UCLA to silence a crowd of 7,528 at The Pit ““ long considered the most raucous environment in the conference.

The Bruins’ lackluster, 5-of-14 shooting effort on 3-pointers in the first half caught up with them, though. That usually paves the way for comebacks.

Sure enough, McArthur would rise again following an Oregon 12-0 run in the minutes leading up to halftime.

“We could not close out the first half,” coach Ben Howland said. “When you play against the zone, you are forced to take outside shots.”

Ducks guard Tajuan Porter sank two consecutive 3-pointers in front of the UCLA bench to cut the deficit to one before a pair of Tyler Honeycutt free throws put the Bruins in a 31-28 advantage heading into halftime.

So much for comfortable leads.

“We were playing really well,” said redshirt senior guard Michael Roll, who finished with 16 points. “Porter’s three free throws kind of got him going. He made a couple of deep 3s and that sparked their run.”

Anderson misses third straight:

Sophomore guard Jerime Anderson traveled with the team but sat out for the third consecutive game.

The Anaheim native has been battling a hip injury and was limited in practice.


Thursday night’s game was the final contest between the two schools in legendary McArthur Court. Oregon is moving to a brand new arena in time for the start of the conference season next year.

“We’re closing it out, and we want to close it out right,” Oregon’s Matt Humphrey said. “Pride was definitely in our hearts tonight.”

Oregon’s student section chanted, “USA! USA! USA!” whenever Dragovic, a Serbia native, was whistled for a foul.

What you saw Thursday night wasn’t another uniform stunt by Oregon. Both coaching staffs wore training shoes in support of Coaches versus Cancer week, with Oregon donning pink uniforms and sneakers. The game-used items were to be auctioned following the game with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society.

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