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UCLA Sinks Into the Pit as Oregon Comes Back : College basketball: Bruins get only one basket in the final 1:38 and waste chance for Pac-10 title. Damage will be determined by NCAA seedings today.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Bring on the new season, that NCAA tournament thing, the UCLA Bruins said Saturday. They probably said this because the old season had become such a royal pain in the jump shot.

It is a battered bunch of Bruins who will find out today where they will play in the tournament, which can’t be any tougher than the way they closed out the Pacific 10 Conference season.

Eighth-place Oregon scored eight points in the last 90 seconds, including a winning rebound basket by 6-foot-8 center Zach Sellers with five seconds left that beat UCLA, 80-79, before 7,630 at McArthur Court.

It was Sellers’ only basket of the game.

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The Bruins had one more chance, but Tyus Edney missed a three-pointer at the buzzer. Edney, closely guarded by Darryl Parker, thought he was fouled. Bruin Coach Jim Harrick was sure he was.

“That’s not hard to call; it’s easy,” he said. “It’s not a judgment call; it’s a guts call, or lack of. It’s ridiculous.”

Oregon Coach Jerry Green said he didn’t see it and Parker said he didn’t do it, but Edney said he really was fouled.

“It’s a bad day,” Edney said.

The Bruins will find out today how bad it was when the NCAA tournament seedings are announced. UCLA finished 21-6, lost six of its last 13 after a 14-0 start and missed a chance to share the Pac-10 title with Arizona, which was upset at Arizona State.

Other than that, getting beat by a team that was 9-17 and in the midst of a four-game losing streak probably had no consequences at all.

Shon Tarver, who led the Bruins with 30 points, said to bring on the tournament.

“Right now, I feel I can take anything,” he said. “Losing to SC, then losing to Oregon by one point for the championship, you just reach the point where the only way to go is up.”

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That’s the direction UCLA seemed to be heading midway through the second half, when Harrick made a key defensive switch and put Tarver on Kenya Wilkins.

Edney wasn’t up to checking Wilkins and clearly was slowed by the aftereffects of the muscle spasms in his back that forced him out of Friday’s practice. Edney made only one of 13 shots, but Tarver carried the load.

It was Tarver’s breakaway layup with 8:38 to go that gave UCLA a 73-68 lead after the Bruins had trailed by eight five minutes earlier.

But Tarver’s basket was just about the end of the line for UCLA. The Bruins managed only one field goal in the last 1:38, a dunk by George Zidek with 63 seconds remaining that put UCLA in front, 79-75.

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The Bruins didn’t score again. Orlando Williams made a three-pointer, then Ed O’Bannon turned the ball over when he stepped out of bounds as he drove the baseline with 21 seconds left.

Oregon called time out, trailing by 79-78. Wilkins took off down the lane, shot and missed, but Sellers got the rebound and scored from two feet.

As UCLA scrambled back, all that was left was for Edney to try his three-pointer in traffic from the left side. When it didn’t go, Oregon fans flooded the court they call the Pit and carried the Ducks off on their shoulders.

In the somber UCLA locker room, Ed O’Bannon said he didn’t really want to think about whether Edney was fouled.

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“Who cares?” he said. “We lost.”

It was not a particularly fine day for either of the O’Bannons. Ed was three for 12 and had six turnovers in 31 minutes. Charles played only 27 minutes and sat out most of the second half when Harrick chose to go with Cameron Dollar to work alongside Tarver and Edney, who played all but seven minutes.

“Tyus Edney played his worst game since he’s been at UCLA,” Harrick said. “But he was hurting, maybe I shouldn’t have played him so much.”

The Bruins had their moments, but they were brief. What’s clear is that UCLA still is struggling with its offense after 27 games. UCLA wound up with 20 turnovers and missed 23 of 32 shots in the second half, including 10 of its last 11 after Tarver’s basket and the 73-68 lead.

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“We just frittered it away,” Harrick said. “It was a joke. We should have won by 10 or 15. We gave it away. This is just sickening.”

Ed O’Bannon didn’t feel much better. He said he isn’t sure how the Bruins will react, but he didn’t sound too confident.

“Time will tell, the tournament is a new beginning, but this can easily carry over,” he said. “But we start 0-0, same as everybody. We just got to go out wherever we are and play.”


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