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UCLA men’s basketball falls against Oregon to split first Pac-12 road trip

UCLA men’s basketball sophomore forward/center Adem Bona fights for the ball against an Oregon player during last season’s matchup at Pauley Pavilion between the two teams. (Jeremy Chen/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Men’s basketball


By Gavin Carlson

Dec. 30, 2023 4:10 p.m.

Dylan Andrews brought the ball up the court, his team trailing by three with less than 30 seconds to play.

The sophomore guard had already delivered a last-second shot to win a game exactly one month prior, but he entered the possession having shot just 2-of-11 from the field and 1-of-6 from behind the arc.

Andrews got a clean look at a game-tying triple with 10 seconds left, but the Bruins’ 3-point struggles emerged once more in the clutch.

The starting point guard’s last-second attempt fell short as UCLA men’s basketball (6-7, 1-1 Pac-12) lost 64-59 to Oregon (10-3, 2-0) on Saturday afternoon in Eugene. The Ducks outscored the Bruins 30-9 on 3-pointers for the game, including an 18-3 scoring deficit from beyond the arc in the final 15 minutes of the contest.

One game after a 17-2 second-half run turned a first-half deficit into a win at Oregon State, UCLA used a 9-0 run early in the second half Saturday to earn a five-point advantage with 15 minutes left in the game.

Then Oregon returned to the 3-point line to spark its largest run of the game.

The Ducks responded to the Bruins’ run with a 14-2 spurt led by four made 3s. Guard Jackson Shelstad hit back-to-back-to-back triples in a three-minute span to continue his team’s superior 3-point shooting performance.

The final 12:28 quickly became a battle of both teams’ leading scorers.

Sophomore forward/center Adem Bona and freshman forward Berke Buyuktuncel combined for 13 of the Bruins’ 15 points during that closing stretch. Bona finished with 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting, 11 rebounds and five blocks, while Buyuktuncel added 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting.

But UCLA’s leaders were outdone by Oregon’s, as Shelstad and fellow guard Jermaine Couisnard combined for 13 points during that final span of the game and scored 23 of the Ducks’ 31 second-half points. Shelstad scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half, including four 3-pointers in a 10-minute span to help turn a five-point deficit into a seven-point lead with 4:34 to play.

The Bruins ultimately did enough in the final minutes to earn the game-tying attempt from Andrews but fell short of sending the game to overtime. The guard’s miss capped off a game in which UCLA shot just 3-of-19 from behind the arc compared to Oregon’s 10-of-25 clip.

The Bruins kept things close in the first half despite shooting 1-of-9 from beyond the arc and being outscored 12-3 on 3s. 

UCLA used an 18-13 rebounding advantage – including a 6-3 margin on offensive boards – to overcome the poor perimeter shooting, and their 7-0 advantage on second-chance points helped to make up for their 8-5 deficit in the first-half turnover battle.

Bona grabbed seven of his rebounds in the opening 20 minutes and paced UCLA with seven first-half points – including a two-hand dunk. 

But his interior dominance was not enough.

Despite outscoring the Ducks 28-18 in the paint and outrebounding them on both ends, the Bruins came just short of a perfect 2-0 road trip in Oregon to open conference play.

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Gavin Carlson | Sports staff
Carlson is currently a staff writer on the football, men's basketball and women's basketball beats. He was previously a reporter on the softball and men's golf beats.
Carlson is currently a staff writer on the football, men's basketball and women's basketball beats. He was previously a reporter on the softball and men's golf beats.
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