Friday, November 24

UCLA men’s basketball suffers first season loss to Oregon in final seconds


Oregon junior forward Dillon Brooks knocked down the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left on the clock, handing No. 2 UCLA its first loss of the year. (Jintak Han/Assistant Photo editor)

Oregon junior forward Dillon Brooks knocked down the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left on the clock, handing No. 2 UCLA its first loss of the year. (Jintak Han/Assistant Photo editor)


This post was updated Dec. 28 at 9:42 p.m.

EUGENE, Ore. — By any measure, Lonzo Ball was pretty quiet for the first half of play.

Three points on three shots with three rebounds and three assists. Perhaps most surprising, the freshman guard – who averaged 43.3 percent from distance coming into the game – shot 0-for-4 from the 3-point line.

No. 2 UCLA (13-1, 0-1 Pac-12) trailed No. 21 Oregon (12-2, 1-0 Pac-12) 52-47 at the half and was still down four points with under 11 minutes left in the game.

Then Ball took over.

In less than two minutes, he hit three straight 3s and that four-point deficit immediately turned into a five-point Bruin lead.

But somehow, it wasn’t enough.

UCLA held a four-point lead with 24 seconds left in the game after Ball hit what should have been the game-clinching shot. The defense started slipping in the last four minutes and UCLA just couldn’t put the game away.

“We really defended through the first 15 minutes of the second half, and that’s the way we’re capable of guarding,” said coach Steve Alford. “And then the last four minutes we just didn’t guard. I thought that was the difference, we lost that four-minute game 17-8.”

The Ducks cut it to one off freshman guard Payton Pritchard’s 3. Then senior guard Bryce Alford headed to the free-throw line with 10 seconds left to try and increase the lead back up to three, but he missed the first shot of the 1-and-1.

 “I pride myself on my free throw shooting, and I pride myself on the way I handle the ball and do things down the stretch,” Alford said. “But the basketball doesn’t always bounce your way all the time so you just have to regroup. If I get into that situation again, I’m confident I’ll make it.”

With no timeouts, Oregon ran the down the court off the rebound.

The ball found itself in Dillon Brooks’ hands, who pulled up and sank the final blow in a thriller of a game. 89 Oregon, 87 UCLA. Final.

“You hate losing, this is the first loss of the season for us and it’s definitely a tough way to go but it happens,” said junior center Thomas Welsh. “This is the sport. You’re not gonna win them all, but it’s just about playing the way you want to play and learning from losses like this.”

Just like that, UCLA’s perfect record falls in the first Pac-12 conference game of the year.

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