Men’s basketball defeats Oregon State despite season-low offensive performances
Redshirt junior forward Cody Riley recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds as No. 23 UCLA men’s basketball defeated Oregon State. (Kristian Sabatino/Daily Bruin)
|No. 23 UCLA||57|
By Coral Smith
Jan. 30, 2021 6:39 p.m.
This post was updated Jan. 31 at 10:38 p.m.
While the Bruins had their lowest scoring output of the season, they managed to get back in the win column.
No. 23 UCLA men’s basketball (13-3, 9-1 Pac-12) held off Oregon State (8-7, 4-5) on Saturday night 57-52, recovering from its first conference loss of the season last week versus Stanford and season-low offensive performances.
Heading into the contest, Oregon State’s opponents were hitting 31.0% of their attempts from the 3-point line, the best in the Pac-12, and held UCLA’s shooters below that number Saturday, going just 21.4% from beyond the arc in the first half, and 25.0% overall.
The Bruins also shot just 32.7% from the field – their lowest field goal percentage in a game this season – and had multiple stretches in which they didn’t make a field goal for multiple minutes at a time.
“Today we had great looks … the ball just didn’t go in for us, and we found a way to win,” said coach Mick Cronin. “I always say 15% of the time you’re going to shoot the ball like we did today, which is terrible, 15% of the time you’re going to shoot out of your mind and 70% of the time you’re going to probably be who you are.”
The Bruins lost a member of the starting backcourt for much of the game when junior guard Jules Bernard landed on his knee while going for an offensive rebound in the first half. While Bernard returned to the game in the second half, he still finished with no points or rebounds in his shortened outing, a far cry from the 9.9 points and 5.3 rebounds he was averaging heading into the game.
“He wasn’t in a good offensive rhythm anyway, so I just figured to try to save him late, use him for defense,” Cronin said. “He was awesome, had a couple great defensive plays down the stretch, and I’m sure he’ll be pretty sore tomorrow.”
Without Bernard, the Bruins finished the half having scored one field goal in the last six minutes, a layup from redshirt junior forward Cody Riley with 17 seconds to go that gave UCLA a 27-25 lead going into halftime. The 27 points tied the Bruins’ lowest-scoring first half of the season, a mark that was first achieved last week in UCLA’s first conference loss at Stanford.
While the Bruins never trailed in the second half, they were unable to run away with it. UCLA extended the lead to as many as nine points, but multiple offensive droughts kept Oregon State in the ball game.
The Beavers closed the gap to 53-50 with 1:13 left, but a lost ball turnover and four made free throws by redshirt-sophomore guard Tyger Campbell sealed the victory for the Bruins.
“We just stuck together, we didn’t panic, you know, the game was close and we could have easily done that,” Riley said. “We took care of the ball for the most part and forced them to turn it over late in the game, which is big. And, you know, it’s another one of those games that we had to grind out and came out with the victory.”
Riley led UCLA players with 16 points – 10 of which came in the second half – to go with 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.
“(Riley’s) a beast down there in the low post, so we know when we give him the ball, he’s either going to score, get fouled or kick it out for an open shot,” said sophomore guard/forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. “That’s why we put emphasis on getting the ball to him in the second half because a lot of our shots weren’t falling. When that happens, we go straight into (Riley), and he gets our offense going.”
Three other Bruins each contributed nine points each, including junior guard David Singleton, who sank a trio of 3-pointers in his reunion with the Beavers’ guard Ethan Thompson. The pair played together for four years at Bishop Montgomery High School.
After allowing a 20-point scorer in each of its last six games, the UCLA defense limited Thompson, Oregon State’s leading scorer, to 16 points. Only one other Beaver player scored more than six points in the contest.
“I think that shows the character of our team, when we’re not hitting shots, we can still come out, play hard defense and grind out a win,” Jaquez said.
With Monday’s game postponed because of COVID-19 protocol within Oregon’s program, UCLA will head across town next Saturday for a rivalry game against USC at the Gayley Center.