UCLA falls to Oregon 71-66 in overtime

Here’s my story on the UCLA loss to Oregon on Thursday night…

Just as UCLA’s starters legs started to go, Oregon’s reserves had theirs in reserve.
A pair of backup Ducks – sophomore guard Matthew Humphrey and freshman forward E.J. Singler – proved the difference on Thursday night as Oregon defeated the Bruins, 71-66, in overtime in UCLA’s last visit to McArthur Court.

Humphrey had a pair of crucial 3-pointers and eight total points in the extra period and Singler added all eight of his points in overtime as the Bruins slumped at the end.
Were it not for porous 3-point shooting, UCLA would have run away with it.
The Bruins shot 10-for-33 from long range – including 4-of-14 in the second half – as Oregon came back from a huge early deficit.

“I thought most of the threes we took were pretty much open,” said UCLA senior guard Michael Roll, who had 16 points and 4-of-9 3-pointers in a game-high 44 minutes. “There were a few of them at the end of the clock that we had to put up, but I wouldn’t say we forced any out there. That’s just what the zone gave us.”

The Ducks played a paint-clogging 2-3 zone for much of the game, clamping down after UCLA (9-11, 4-4) jumped to a 24-13 lead. Oregon (11-9, 3-5) closed the gap to three going into the halftime break, and held a small lead for much of the second half until Roll tied the game with a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left in regulation.

Before giving way to Singler and Humphrey, Ducks guard Tajuan Porter took control early, with nine first-half points.

“I don’t think it was me, it was my teammates – we kind of spread them out in the zone,” Porter said. “Malcolm Armstead got in the driving gaps, he got the ball in the middle and they kicked them out. I got open shots, and I knocked them down early.”
UCLA’s guards, though, could not match Porter’s scoring.

While Roll had 16 points, sophomore Malcolm Lee and junior Mustafa Abdul-Hamid combined for just five, with Lee scoring only two points on 1-of-9 shooting in 37 minutes.
“Playing point guard did take my scoring a little bit, but that’s just all on me – it’s not just the position,” Lee said. “I’ve got to learn when to pick my spots when we need a bucket. I needed to score more in this game.”

Against the Ducks’ aggressive zone defense and full-court trap, Lee simply could not.

There was nowhere to go.

Oregon’s post players – Jamil Wilson, Jeremy Jacob and Michael Dunigan – simply denied the paint, as UCLA forwards James Keefe and Reeves Nelson simply could not find any openings. Keefe made his lone field goal and finished with two points, and Nelson added 11.

“We knew they were going to play that zone, that kind of man-zone like Arizona State,” freshman forward Tyler Honeycutt said. “They haven’t been using it that long, but it was pretty effective. Better than we expected.”
Honeycutt was the lone bright spot for the Bruins, finishing with 13 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

But he missed all three of his 3-pointers and Lee missed all five of his.

“I hadn’t even noticed that until right now – when you play against a zone you are forced to take outside shots,” UCLA head coach Ben Howland said. “When you look at the numbers, both Nikola and Mike shot it well from three, and the rest of the guys did not. We need to keep getting the ball inside.”

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  • Anonymous

    Always hurts to lose games you could’ve won. Could’ve been completely different if Drago made his free throws! He played well tonight, but he’s not a closer like Farmar, AA, or Collison. Just goes to show how much more mentally tough those guys were. Ultimately I like the fight in these guys. Never gave up.

  • bruinbiochem06

    We could’ve won if Lee didn’t have a terrible night. Our players did give a great effort, so it doesn’t hurt too bad. We desperately need a scorer like Afflalo, Westbrook, Collison, or Farmar.

  • Sid

    Beating a zone is not hard to draw up. But drawing it up and having the talent to pull off the plays are two different things.

    UCLA just flat out lacks the talent needed to make the types of plays needed to beat a zone.

    Here’s what you need to beat a zone:

    Option 1: A big man with good court vision and ball skills. You have him flash to the middle of the zone, at about the free throw line, and get him the ball. From here, he needs to be a threat to A) hit a 10 foot jumpshot and/or B) Make a good backdoor pass (usually through traffic) to a cutting teammate when a defender comes to challenge and/or C) Kick it out to a teammate for an open outside shot when a defender comes to challenge. This big man ALSO needs to have the basketball savvy necessary to know WHICH option to go with at the appropriate time.

    Option 2: If you don’t have a big man who can do that, you need a guard who can beat guys off the dribble and penetrate AT WILL to the free throw line, jumpstop, and either A) hit the 10 footer, B) hit the cutting teammate backdoor, or C) kick it outside.

    If you have either of those players on your team, you can easily beat a zone. UCLA just doesn’t have either of those guys on their roster right now.

    The only option you have left is to be a great outside shooting team, which UCLA is marvelously inconsistent as a team at doing.

  • Reformed Droog

    I just thought the team played with very little confidence in the 2nd half. 24 points in the 2nd half? And that included Roll’s 3 to send it to OT.

    Nobody wanted the ball. Lee had a tough 1st half, but he needed to get over it. How are you going to help the team in the 2nd half by loitering 5 feet behind the 3PL? You beat a zone with penetration. It’s not rocket science…

    And Drago. I’ve been saying it for years, but any points he puts on the board for UCLA are meaningless because he’ll give up those points and more on defense. Very frustrating.

  • Anonymous

    Well, my take on this is a little different than most of the previous comments. It seems to me that not all the players put a good effort every night and last night it looked like it was Nelson and Honneycut versus the Oregon 5 or 7, Roll and Drag are seniors and do not play like seniors and Lee needs to penetrate to open things a bit when the defense gravitates to him. The Bruins need to have a go to guy and the seniors are not it.

  • barrya

    5 things:

    Free Throws
    No PG
    Home court advantage

    We win that game at Pauley (Of course we lose the gave vs Washington in Seattle.)

    Rebounding kept Oregon alive, to where they could win it late. FTs kept us from putting it away. Note Honeycutt – just like Afflalo in that tournament game his freshman year – taking the fake from the Oregon guy – Porter? don’t remember – and giving him four feet for a wide upen three with the game still up for grabs. Anderson may not be all-anything, especially slowed by the hip and groin, but he’s far and away our best PG – we were unable to move quickly enough to deform the Oregon zone often enough – as UO’s guards allowed them to do to us.

    Problems with this team won’t be solved by playing a zone or whatever; we need a true and bigger center, more athleticism; a healthy Anderson PLUS more options at PG to improve both in practice and in games; and an off-season for guys to get stronger, learn to shoot FTs, and in some cases just learn to shoot period.

  • Warrior

    Another element that seems to be missing the “It Factor” that Afflalo had, Farmar had & Collison had. It was that “not on my watch” attitude that right now seems non existent, other than Reeves Nelson. He needs to be on the floor more! He brings that swagger & toughness that is missing. He’s not content like some (Dragovic being the worst) to just flow with the game rather than Create a flow & dictate the game. Abdul Hamid has it as well but just not quite the game to go along with it.