Thursday, September 21

Win eludes UCLA men’s basketball in OT’s last seconds against Oregon

EUGENE, Ore. “”mdash; It seemed only fitting that one overtime deserved another Thursday night.

UCLA trailed by three and had possession with more than 16 seconds remaining in overtime. With every crease of legendary McArthur Court going absolutely bonkers, the Bruins would surely try to send the game into a second overtime, right?

“The play called for a three for me in the corner,” senior forward Nikola Dragovic said.

That never materialized.

“My guy was trailing me, so I went for the hoop,” Dragovic said.

Dragovic drew a foul but missed the front end of the one-and-one, all but sealing the Bruins’ 71-66 loss to Oregon in the schools’ final game at The Pit.

“We didn’t have a timeout left,” coach Ben Howland said. “When Nikola drove the ball, that was fine. He just missed the foul shot. He was leaning back on his heels a little bit there.”

Redshirt senior guard Michael Roll had sent it into overtime with a clutch 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation and had given UCLA (9-11, 4-4 Pac-10) possession late in overtime with a held ball on Oregon’s Tajuan Porter.

With a chance to tie, Roll intended on using his late-game heroics to draw defenders and free up Dragovic for a 3-pointer of his own.

“We had a play for me to come across and draw defenders,” Roll said. “Nikola was open. It was a good play, but he got fouled. That’s who we want at the foul line.”

The Bruins trailed by just two with a minute left but then faced a six-point hole in a blur.

Ducks (11-9, 3-5) guard Matthew Humphrey missed a 3-pointer, but UCLA never blocked out, paving the way for an out-of-nowhere, put back tap-in by Oregon’s E.J. Singler.

Roll turned the ball over on the other end, and Singler cashed in again, racing down the court for a layup and a comfortable six-point advantage with about 50 seconds left.

“We got hurt by our block-outs,” Howland said.

Dragovic, who finished with a game-high 19 points and 10 rebounds, gave the Bruins hope with a crowd-silencing 3-pointer. Singler responded by making two clutch free throws.

“Humphrey came in and really hurt us,” Howland said.

Humphrey did not have any points in the first half but finished the night 3-for-5 from the 3-point range.

UCLA, meanwhile, was 1-for-5 from beyond the arc in overtime alone and 10-for-33 for the game.

But perhaps the night’s biggest miss was the one that was never taken.

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