Photos: UCLA ties for third in Pac-12 after beating Oregon

Photos from UCLA’s 72-63 win over Oregon on Saturday, Feb. 14, including a halftime ceremony to honor the 1995 championship team. (Michael Owen Baker/Daily News)

– The game story on UCLA’s 72-63 win over Oregon at Pauley Pavilion, one that featured a highlight-reel day from Norman Powell.
Mark Whicker’s column on how Tony Parker’s presence has helped keep the Bruins’ NCAA Tournament hopes alive.

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VIDEO: Norman Powell goes between his legs for huge dunk

Oregon arrived at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday with one of the most trigger-happy offenses in the league, and UCLA happily fell into that long-distance style. The two teams combined to take 28 3-pointers in the first half, out of 60 total field-goal attempts.

But the play of the half belonged instead to Norman Powell, the Bruins’ freight train of a guard. The senior has improved his 3-point shooting this year — from 29.4 to 33.3 percent — but his bread and butter is still attacking the paint. He did that against the Ducks, using a stiff Thomas Welsh screen and a through-his-legs dribble to set up a vicious dunk.

“That’s Norman,” said head coach Steve Alford. “He’s SportsCenter. He does that. There’s one of those a game. That one — that move there — was as good as it’s been all year long. … I’ve never seen a pick-and-roll split like that.”

Added Powell: “I saw a little space where he hedged out too fast before I came off the screen. The rest was just instincts.”

The 6-foot-4 guard led the Bruins with 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting, helping them to a 72-63 win.

Video h/t @cjzero / The Cauldron

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At a glance: UCLA vs. Oregon

UCLA Bruins (15-10, 7-5) vs. Oregon (18-7, 8-4)
Tipoff: Saturday, Feb. 14, 12:07 p.m., Pauley Pavilion
TV: FOX (Gus Johnson, Jim Jackson)
Radio: AM 570 (Chris Roberts, Tracy Murray)

Scouting report: Oregon is a run-and-gun offense, one that can bury a team quickly if its shooters heat up. That’s what happened to UCLA when it traveled to Eugene last month. The Bruins played a level of defense that veered from lackadaisical to putrid — allowing the Ducks to shoot 75 percent from the field in the first half of an 82-64 blowout.

UCLA senior Norman Powell called out the team for its defensive effort in Eugene, and it might be up to him again to make sure there isn’t a letdown after stifling Oregon State on Wednesday.

On the other hand, Oregon’s own defense is paper thin. Since conference play started, the team has allowed opponents to make 53.2 percent of their 2-point shots — a huge hole that UCLA should be able to exploit if it can establish an inside-out attack. Continue reading

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Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams picks Oregon

Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams will transfer to Oregon, giving the Ducks a graduate transfer who could smooth their transition into the post-Marcus Mariota era.

UCLA and Texas had both made late inquiries into potentially getting the two-time Walter Payton Award runner-up, but neither became a real factor in Adams’ decision. The Bruins, of course, will head into spring camp with a competition to replace three-year starter Brett Hundley, with freshman Josh Rosen being the likely favorite over returning backup Jerry Neuheisel and redshirt sophomore Asiantii Woulard.

One of the rare players to jump from the FCS to the FBS at his position, Adams led EWU to a 49-46 upset of then-No. 25 Oregon State in 2013, and almost did the same against Washington a year later. He totaled 886 passing yards, 13 total touchdowns, and no interceptions in the two games.

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Report: UCLA, Texas showing interest in EWU’s Vernon Adams

UCLA and Texas have joined Oregon in trying to woo Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams.

The potential graduate transfer has twice finished as both Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year and runner-up for the Walter Payton Award, given to the FCS offensive MVP. His former coach at Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany, Dean Herrington, told The Oregonian‘s Andrew Greif that he has fielded calls from the Bruins and the Longhorns — but that he still thinks Adams will choose between either going to Oregon and staying at Eastern Washington. Continue reading

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UCLA continues downward spiral with two straight losses

That three-game winning streak looks like nothing more than a speck in the rearview.

Just a week after emerging from an ugly, five-loss slump during the holidays, the UCLA men’s basketball team looks as disjointed as ever — losing back-to-back games at Oregon State and Oregon, and all but certainly saying goodbye to already slim March Madness hopes.

The weekend trip north resulted in arguably the Bruins’ worst two-game stretch of the season, one that saw them shoot 35.8 percent from the field while allowing 57.3 to their opponents. And it’s not as if UCLA had the excuse of facing top-notch competition (neither the Beavers nor the Ducks are ranked) or being worn out by travel (a seven-day layoff before Thursday’s loss). And yet, this is a team that — as presently constructed — does not look capable of doing anything right on either end of the court.

It is easy to point at the absence of Tony Parker as the reason for the Bruins’ struggles. The junior center had been in the middle of what looked like a career breakthrough, averaging 15.3 points and 7.5 rebounds in four games and helping UCLA establish a consistent inside-out offensive attack. But during individual workouts this past weekend, he began suffering from back spasms and remained at home while his teammates flew up to the Beaver State. Continue reading

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UCLA’s Takkarist McKinley scouts Colorado offensive line

Colorado has only given up 12 sacks this season, good for the second-best mark in the Pac-12.

UCLA defensive end Takkarist McKinley said the key to besting the Buffs is to rely on get-off and speed rushes — as well as using his hands to avoid chop blocks.

“When they try to chop block you, they try to tear your ACL,” McKinley said. “To me, that’s dirty. To them, it’s their job. But to me, it’s pretty dirty.”

Asked if he’d noticed any other Pac-12 teams use chop-blocks, McKinley pointed out Utah — which beat UCLA 30-28. Oregon and Arizona State, on the other hand, weren’t major offenders. “Cal, their running backs did it a lot,” he continued. “I’d come in there full speed, and their little running backs just might go straight for my legs. So did the little tight ends they have.”

RELATED:
» A couple of Bruins are already familiar with Colorado receiver Nelson Spruce.
» Brett Hundley’s turnovers have been particularly untimely for UCLA.

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Eddie Vanderdoes will not be punished by Pac-12 for punch against Oregon

After reviewing a clip of Eddie Vanderdoes’ punch against Oregon last Saturday, the Pac-12 has decided not to hand out additional punishment to UCLA’s sophomore defensive lineman.

Vanderdoes received a personal foul penalty during the second quarter of the Bruins’ 42-30 loss for punching left tackle Jake Fisher. The flag gave the Ducks 15 yards and an automatic first down on what what would have been third-and-3 at the UCLA 47-yard line. Oregon scored a touchdown five plays later on Marcus Mariota’s 21-yard screen pass to Thomas Tyner, taking a 15-3 lead.

“I made a stupid decision,” Vanderdoes said. “I regret it. That’s not me. I’ve never done that before to a player in a game.” Continue reading

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VIDEO: Receiver Jordan Payton says UCLA is in must-win mode

UCLA receiver Jordan Payton talked on Monday about the team’s mood after losing to Utah and Oregon — the second straight year that the Bruins have lost back-to-back games in the middle of the season.

“We have to get this out of our system,” Payton said. “This one hurts a lot because you put a lot of time and effort into understanding how big that game was. For us to go out there and kind of just play like we did, it’s sad. It’s hard. …

“Now, we have to win. Now, we have to do everything right. Now, our backs are fully against the wall.”

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