Bruined: Ducks Handed First Loss At Matt

A strong start faded quickly for the Oregon men Saturday afternoon at Matt Knight Arena, as the Ducks were dealt their first defeat in their brand new home, falling to UCLA 67-59.

The carry over in momentum from the Ducks' Thursday night victory over USC to christen Matt Knight Arena appeared to be present early on in Saturday's contest against the visiting UCLA Bruins, however a tumultuous overall shooting performance and lack of effort and energy on the glass doomed the Ducks in their 67-59 defeat. Led by 18 points from guard Malcolm Lee, the Bruins used their superior size and strength to punish Oregon in the rebounding ledger; outrebounding the Ducks 37-30 while getting all 15 of their second chance points in the second half.

"We didn't box out," said Oregon sophomore forward E.J. Singler who led the Ducks with 15 points. "Those were key points to their win. We just didn't play as hard in the second half and that's why we lost."

In addition to the Ducks poor effort on the boards, the size differential between the two squads had much to do with Oregon's lack of success battling for rebounds.

"We have to play well on all cylinders," admitted Oregon head coach Dana Altman. "Our margin of error is not very big, just like our team. We left a lot of the rebounding up to JJ (Jeremy Jacob), E.J., and Tyrone (Nared) and they're not that big."

Tyler Honeycutt and Josh Smith led the Bruins with 11 and 9 rebounds, respectively, while Nared set a career high with his 8 boards.

To go along with being battered in the paint, the Ducks had difficulty quelling the Bruins from the perimeter, as UCLA went 9-of-24 (37.5 percent) from beyond the arc. Often times the Ducks were too slow rotating defensively to close out outside shooters; a troubling reality that had much to do with a lack of defensive communication according to Nared.

"It was miscommunication," remarked Nared after the game. "Every time (the ball) went to the wing or towards the baseline, they hit threes on us. That killed us. That was a plus (for UCLA) besides Josh Smith getting all those offensive rebounds."

The Ducks have a few extra days off before hitting the road to take on Oregon State next Saturday in Corvallis. Tip-off is set for 3:00 pm.

Odds and Ends:

Joevan Catron missed his second consecutive game Saturday as he continues to nurse a strained calf. Said Altman, "A strained calf is tricky and we have to be careful. We will make a decision late this week about whether or not he will play against Oregon State, it's a 50/50 chance."

Follow Chris Courtney on Twitter at eDuckCCourtney

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