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UCLA men’s basketball wins fourth in five games with victory over Oregon State

UCLA men’s basketball sophomore guard Dylan Andrews holds the ball while being defended by a member of Oregon State. Andrews tied a game-high with 18 points. (Shane Yu/Daily Bruin staff)

Men’s basketball


Oregon State63
UCLA71

By Gavin Carlson

Feb. 1, 2024 10:29 p.m.

This post was updated Feb. 1 at 11:11 p.m.

Much of the discourse surrounding UCLA  – including some from coach Mick Cronin himself – has centered around its youth and inexperience over the first three months of the season.

But Thursday night in Pauley Pavilion, a trio of veterans carried the Bruins back to .500 in Pac-12 play.

Behind 51 combined points from junior guard Lazar Stefanovic and sophomores forward/center Adem Bona and guard Dylan Andrews, UCLA men’s basketball (10-11, 5-5 Pac-12) outlasted Oregon State (11-10, 3-7) by a score of 71-63. Bona scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half, while Andrews and Stefanovic combined for 21 points in the second half to propel their team to 6-4 in front of the home crowd.

“I got in foul trouble, and they picked up the pace – kept us in the game, Lazar and DA (Andrews),” Bona said. “The three of us, we (are) kind of the most experienced on the team, so it’s great to see them set the blueprints for the young guys on the team.”

When the Bruins’ offense struggled early, Bona was a rare bright spot.

UCLA made just three of its first 12 shots over the first six-plus minutes, with Bona responsible for two of the three baskets. He added a pair of rebounds and a block during the stretch, helping the Bruins outrebound the Beavers 4-0 on the offensive glass early.

And once UCLA’s offense began to heat up, its big man continued to be in the middle of everything.

Bona and the Bruins responded to their slow start by making six consecutive shots over the next 6 1/2 minutes, including four baskets in the paint from the sophomore. When he wasn’t flying through the air for one of his two first-half dunks, Bona sealed off defenders in the post to create inside scoring opportunities for himself.

With Bona leading the charge, UCLA turned a 3-of-12 start into 50% shooting from the floor and a 22-18 lead with seven minutes remaining in the opening frame. 

“The key with Adem is we’re playing through him,” Cronin said. “So not only when he scores – he gets two assists – but when they double him, even if he doesn’t get the assist, he’s causing so much help that it’s getting us shots from other people.”

Other than Bona, Stefanovic and Andrews were the only two Bruins to convert multiple baskets in the opening 20 minutes. The pair of starters combined to make UCLA’s only two triples of the first half, totaling 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting.

Outside of the three veterans’ early contributions, the Bruins struggled on both ends of the floor.

UCLA shot 30% from the field outside of Bona, and shot just 1-of-9 outside of its three top scorers in the first half. Oregon State simultaneously shot 54.2% from the field and made three of its four shots from deep.

The Bruins missed seven of their final 10 shots of the first half, but a 17-10 rebounding advantage – including six to one on the offensive glass – was enough to take a slight 33-31 lead into the halftime break.

Sophomore forward/center Adem Bona attempts a layup between two Beaver defenders. Bona recorded 14 first-half points en route to an 18-point, four-rebound evening. (Shane Yu/Daily Bruin staff)

 

In the second half, Bona was sent to the bench after committing both his third and fourth fouls of the contest. In turn, Stefanovic and Andrews provided an even more necessary boost offensively, while UCLA’s team defense put together consecutive stops.

Trailing 38-37 with 17:10 to play, Stefanovic ignited an 11-3 run over the next 5 1/2 minutes with a 3-pointer and jumper, while Andrews tacked on four consecutive points of his own.

After Bona committed his third foul with 15:40 remaining, the Bruins held the Beavers to one field goal and three total points in the five-minute stretch – including five consecutive misses – before he was subbed back on.

“I’m out there just trying to survive once he got that third foul,” Cronin said. “The same with the fourth foul – those two stretches where we played with him on the bench were really important.”

Up by just a single point with under six minutes remaining and Bona back on the bench again, Andrews had another quick spurt in him. The 6-foot-2 guard followed a midrange jumper with a timely 3-pointer and paint finish to complete a 7-2 run on his own in under two minutes and give UCLA a 62-56 lead with four minutes left.

“When he (Andrews) plays good, we really play good,” Stefanovic said. “Towards the end, I don’t know exactly how much, but it seemed like he scored every point down the stretch. … He stepped up, took responsibility, and he did a great job.”

Andrews and Bona combined to score 13 of the Bruins’ 16 points over the final six minutes and UCLA held Oregon State to seven points over the stretch to earn the eight-point win, its fourth in five games.

 

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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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