CORVALLIS, ORE. -
Jared Cunningham’s resounding slam dunk less than three minutes into the first half of UCLA’s matchup with Oregon State on Thursday night gave the Beavers a quick eight-point lead and got the Gill Coliseum crowd off its feet.
But the play that immediately preceded the Cunningham dunk?
More indicative of how the game went for the Bruins.
Senior point guard Jerime Anderson, facing a frantic pressure defense by the Beavers, hurled the ball six feet over 6-foot-10 David Wear’s head.
Pretty much sums it up.
Oregon State capitalized on UCLA miscues and benefited from some hot shooting performances to halt the Bruins’ three-game win streak in an 87-84 win in Corvallis on Thursday.
Much of UCLA’s effort was a study in offensive mismanagement, the Bruins doomed both early and late.
There were errant passes that seemed to be destined for nobody – at least nobody in blue – and steamrolls disguised as drives to the basket that resulted in offensive fouls as Oregon State scored 20 points off 13 UCLA turnovers.
“That’s their game; you can tell they’re a run-and-gun team, and they did what they’re supposed to do,” senior guard Lazeric Jones said. “When people turn it over, that’s what you’re supposed to do. You’re supposed to capitalize on it.”
With a zone defense that frequently caused the Bruins fits, the Beavers got off and running.
UCLA forced 12 turnovers itself, but was unable to get into the fast break, finishing with just five points off Oregon State offerings.
Never was the mismatch in tempo more evident than a short stretch midway through the second half, with the game still very much undecided.
After Bruins center Joshua Smith tied the game at 51, Oregon State went on a 7-0 run to regain control as UCLA committed three straight turnovers.
“They hurt us by speeding us up,” UCLA head coach Ben Howland said. “We got sped up; one time we had a 3-on-2 and instead of attacking the basket, we’re pulling up for a three and Jerime (Anderson) threw it away to (Tyler) Lamb. We made some mistakes like that when we were going faster than we were used to going. We let the pressure get to us.”
Added Anderson: “That was definitely the turning point in the game. It gave them a little momentum and they carried it until the end of the game. We were never able to get all the way back, close to even tying.”
ou allow a team to get confident and get going, and you see what happened tonight.”
Oregon State’s spurt was eerily similar to its run last season, as it came back from a 17-point deficit to take a late lead, only to watch UCLA put the finishing touches on a 62-57 win.
On Thursday, however, things would continue get worse for the Bruins, who simply looked lost after the Beavers’ big run, which they stretched to 12. Oregon State shot 58 percent from the field and hit 25-of-33 free throws – UCLA only made it to the line 12 times, making nine – and maintained a large buffer for much of the stretch run.
“They got a lot of baskets right under the rim,” Jones said. “Their guards made a lot of good shots, some tough shots, but a lot of their baskets came right under the rum. They had a lot of hook shots, layups, things that defensively we have to stop.”
The Beavers were paced as usual by Pac-12 leading scorer Jared Cunningham, who had 15 of his game-high 21 points in the second half while particularly dangerous from the free-throw line, where he made 9-of-10 in the second half. More surprising, though, was the contribution of forward Devon Collier, who added 20 points, and center Angus Brandt, who added 13 along with guard Ahmad Starks.
Jones led UCLA with 17 points and David and Travis Wear each had 16 for the Bruins, who finished with five players in double-figures and had 21 assists in their first loss to the Beavers since 2005.
“This loss is on us,” Anderson said. “We did the things to put us in the position to win the game but we had too many turnovers and too many defensive breakdowns. … You don’t lose too many games when you shoot 57 percent, but y