Bruins falter in 71-67 road loss to Oregon State

Another trip, another split. For the second time in conference play, UCLA squandered a chance to claw up the standings by dropping the tail end of a road series.

The Bruins fell 71-67 at Oregon State, and t here were few excuses available this time. The loss at Utah last month — one that followed a win at then-No. 21 Colorado — came with an additional flight from Denver to Salt Lake City; Corvallis is less than an hour’s drive from Eugene. The Utes’ Huntsman Center is among the rowdiest venues in the conference; Gill Coliseum draws an average of 3,897, the second-worst showing in the Pac-12.

And to top it all off, coach Steve Alford had an extra day to prepare heading into an 11:30 a.m. Sunday tipoff.

Just about everything that could have gone wrong did. After holding the Beavers to 35.3 percent shooting through the bulk of the first half, UCLA’s zone defense began to crack.

Eric Moreland and Angus Brandt — two big men capable of hitting the outside shot — stretched the Bruins out across the floor and opened up opportunities for their teammates. The pair finished with a combined 24 points and eight assists. Moreland also gobbled up 14 boards, and forced UCLA forward Travis Wear into his fifth foul with 4:15 left in the game.

Conference scoring leader Roberto Nelson didn’t hit another field goal after opening the game with a pair of 3-pointers, but freshman Hallice Cook more than filled the void. The 6-foot-3 guard poured in a career-high 20 points, 14 of which came in the second half.

With five scorers in double digits, Oregon State led by as much as 11 points and shot 48 percent from the field, including 8-of-18 from beyond the arc.

More damning was the Bruins’ ineptitude on offense. UCLA didn’t score a field goal in the last 3:20 of the first half, and struggled to find their offensive rhythm in the second. Kyle Anderson was the team’s lone double-digit scorer, finishing with 18 points and nine rebounds but just two assists. UCLA only had 11 assists against 13 turnovers.

Guards Jordan Adams and Zach LaVine combined to shoot 1-of-16 from the field, though both had chances to pull UCLA back into the game. LaVine stole a lazy inbounds pass off of Nelson, then hit two free throws to cut the deficit to 67-64. After David Wear made two more free throws, Adams had a chance for the go-ahead bucket when he drove down the left baseline.

He was hit with a questionable charging foul, and the Beavers iced the game with four more free throws.

UCLA now stands barely above the Pac-12′s muddled middle. At 6-3, they are again tied for second with Cal, which upset undefeated Arizona on Saturday. Behind the trio are Colorado, Arizona State, Stanford, Washington and Oregon State — now all knotted at 5-4 exactly halfway through the league schedule.

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  • FreeShabazz

    Alford doesn’t seem too terribly concerned. Win or lose, he still gets to watch his son play in a game he would have never got to play in if his dad wasn’t hired. What a joke.

  • LTEfan

    Adams shot very poorly, but that charging foul clearly should have been called a blocking foul at the end of the game.

  • gotroy22

    You lost to Oregon State? Looks like another season down the drain for the ruins.

    • LTEfan

      whose basketball program has been in “ruins” since its inception?

      • gotroy22

        Yours will be if the team doesn’t snap out of the Oregon State funk and just shows up physically to play us this week.

      • gotroy22

        Yours will be if the team doesn’t snap out of the Oregon State funk and just shows up physically to play us this week.

    • EncinitasBruin

      You’re funny. That’s the equivalent of the dliquent drop-out making fun of the Valedictorian for getting into Harvard, but not getting a full academic scholarship.

      • gotroy22

        But basketball is your #1 sport, and you don’t have the excuse that you are on probation and the weakness is a temporary condition.

        • EncinitasBruin

          I look at it a little differently: UCLA has never had a bad football program, as SC has, historically. While SC’s football program is more successful than UCLA’s, that doesn’t mean our football program isn’t good. It is. And getting better. Right now, I’d say football is our #1 sport–especially in the past two years.

      • gotroy22

        But basketball is your #1 sport, and you don’t have the excuse that you are on probation and the weakness is a temporary condition.

  • Mark

    No excuse for this loss.

  • K Dapson

    What is frustrating if you’re a Bruin fan is, that under the previous coach (I’ll go that route to avoid any rancor) if the team wasn’t shooting lights out, or was struggling on offense, you could always count on them to bend their knees and try to play tough, man-to-man defense. I just don’t see the “want to” (play defense attitude) with this team.

    • ProbationU

      Our Bruins haven’t played good D since the 3 back to back to back Final 4 teams. Howland didn’t get it done on the defensive end of the floor the last several years either. Defense is clearly lacking. We need to recruit athletic, hard-working players that want to defend and rebound…and coach them up. Not sure that we have the guy for that.

  • EncinitasBruin

    Can someone say Signing Day? Can we get something–anything!–on the state of our prospective football recruiting list, who’s a UCLA lean, etc? Good grief…