Bruins fall in the Pit
UCLA spent one last stressful evening at McArthur Court.
Maybe it wasn’t quite like the old days. The Bruins weren’t toting the No. 1 ranking into the arena and Oregon has been less “Kamikaze Kids” and more roll over and play dead this season.
But once more, with feeling, there they squared off in an arena where the visitors usually shoot cold, but their locker room is always sauna-hot.
By the time the Ducks scrapped out a 71-66 overtime victory, the Bruins gladly would have agreed to supervise the arena’s demolition.
Matt Humphrey and E.J. Singler, both reserves, each scored eight points in overtime after the Bruins’ Michael Roll sent the game into the extra period with a three-pointer with 11 seconds left in regulation.
The Bruins had a shot to tie the score with 14 seconds left, trailing 69-66. But Nikola Draconic went to the hoop instead of looking for a three-pointer. He was fouled and missed the front end of the one-and-one.
“The play was for a three, but I saw a guy trailing me,” Dragovic said. “I got fouled and I think that was the first time I have ever missed a free throw in the last minute.”
Howland said that Dragovic, “could have made it a one-point game and there were 10 seconds left. That’s an eternity.”
Singler made two free throws with seven seconds left to clinch the victory.
“This place is loud, people are on top of you,” Dragovic said. “But . . .”
In that pause was the what-might-have been.
The Bruins appeared headed toward a cordial evening in their last visit to Mac Court. Dragovic made three consecutive three-pointers, part of a 15-2 run that gave UCLA a 24-13 lead.
The Bruins stretched that to 29-16 but then took a sabbatical, going the last 5:24 of the half without a field goal. The Ducks closed the half with a 12-2 run and trailed, 31-28, going into the second half.
UCLA nap time carried into the second half. The Bruins had one field goal in the first five minutes, which became a 23-5 Oregon run for a 39-34 lead.
“I think the lesson we learned tonight was not to let up with the lead,” UCLA Coach Ben Howland said. “We should have closed the out the first half with more of a lead.”
The Bruins have dealt with difficult games in McArthur Court before, whether it was Bill Walton’s team getting upset in 1974 or Kevin Love being showered with inappropriate comments two seasons ago.
This was another one for the Ducks’ scrapbook and another for the Bruins’ scrap heap.
The loss left UCLA (9-11 overall, 4-4 in Pacific 10 Conference) one game out of last place in conference. Of course, there are eight conference teams either in last or within one game of last, including the Ducks (11-9, 3-5).
The Bruins situation is precarious, as this started a stretch where they play five of seven games on the road.
“The crowds are very hostile and it seems like every team we play on the road, they shoot better at home,” said Roll, who scored 16 points. “You’re used to the rims, you’re used to the environment, you’re more comfortable.”
The Bruins shot 39% from the field and were only 10 of 33 against Oregon’s 2-3 zone. Point guard Malcolm Lee was one for nine from the field.
“We need to have more of an inside presence,” Howland said.
The Bruins were down but not out, not this year.
“I think everyone feels they have a chance to win the conference,” UCLA forward James Keefe said. “No one is just going to lay down and lose.”
Trojans get sloppy They turn the ball over 19 times and lose to the last-place Beavers. C4