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It was Senior Night at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday, and there were flashbulbs and smiles and banners all around.
There were handshakes and hugs, flowers for the moms, pats on the back for the dads.
Oh, it was Senior Night all right.
Except the senior who starred was Tajuan Porter, Oregon’s point guard, and the Ducks held off a late UCLA charge to win, 70-68, their first season sweep of the Bruins since 2002-03.
Porter came into the game on a 14-for-57 cold streak, reaching double digits for the first time in seven games with a 15-point performance in a 54-44 win over USC on Thursday.
That was only a preview.
Oregon’s diminutive guard had 29 points, including the dagger, a 23-foot 3-pointer – one of seven on the day – with 49 seconds left to break a tie game.
“We just offset their zone,” Porter said. “(UCLA had) four up top – they played a 2-3 zone, so they had to bring the forwards up – so we ball-screened, Malcolm (Armstead) came off and made a couple plays, I made a couple plays. We had them on their heels. They didn’t know what to do.”
UCLA senior forward Nikola Dragovic is sore but could still be available for Saturday’s matchup with Oregon, head coach Ben Howland said during today’s conference call.
Dragovic doubled over in pain, clutching his shoulder after colliding with an Oregon State player while diving for a loose ball. After exiting the game for a brief period, Dragovic was held scoreless in the first half, but notched 14 points in the second half.
Like teammate Brendan Lane, who is going to test his sprained ankle today, Dragovic will likely be a game-time decision.
UCLA head coach Ben Howland profusely lauded Tyler Honeycutt’s rebounding, after the freshman forward had 10 boards against Oregon State, while no other teammate had more than three. Honeycutt added 18 points, five blocks, four assists and three steals.