"We had some bad turnovers there in the first half that kind of changed the momentum," admitted Oregon Head Coach Dana Altman. "The second half we didn't get stops."
Oregon couldn't seem to find the basket in the second half and UCLA found more and more confidence each time down the court after the two teams were separated by two points 37-35 with the Bruins in the lead to end the first half. When the two teams took the floor in the second half, UCLA scored six straight points before Richard Amardi hit a jumper to trim the Bruin lead to 43-37 but then UCLA six more straight points and UCLA was up 51-37. UCLA continued to steadily score and finally were ahead 60-43 at the 12:10 mark. From then on it was clear Oregon couldn't find a way to effectively erode UCLA's lead.
"They just flat outworked us," said Johnathan Loyd, last year's MVP for the tournament. "We just didn't give it our all. I can't put my finger on what happened. I'm still thinking about it. I don't know what the reason was."
At one point UCLA held a 20-point lead at 76-56, the Ducks whittled the lead down to 14 at the 3:09 mark when Amardi laid the ball in, but Oregon could get no closer.
"We couldn't find a rhythm of the game," observed Damyean Dotson, who ended up with four points and no rebounds in 24 minutes of play. We've had these kind of games where we don't make shots and have to pick it up on defense and we didn't do that tonight."
Joseph Young was the leading scorer for Oregon with 29 points but he was the only Duck scoring in double figures. Mike Moser had eight. Jason Calliste, after hitting the floor on a particularly hard play in the first half that did not result in a foul, seemed to favor his right side and only had five points as did Dominic Artis.
"I'm not sure what happened in the first half there," said Altman of Calliste's injury. "Something was bothering him, and we'll have to wait and see what it is exactly. The trainers were looking at him in the locker room. I don't think it's anything serious. I just think he took a blow to the side and we'll just have to wait and see." Meanwhile UCLA had five players in double figures led by Jordan Adams with 15. Travis Wear and Zach LaVine each had 14 while Kyle Anderson and David Wear added 11 each.
For the game, Oregon shot 56.6 percent on 30-of-53 shooting including 8-of-26 in three point attempts. Oregon was also 7-of-10 from the free throw line.
UCLA shot 56.6 per cent on 30-of-53 shooting including 8-for-16 in three pointers and were 14-of-21 from the charity stripe.
The Bruins out rebounded Oregon 34 to 29 and caused the Ducks to turn the ball over 17 times while only committing 14 turnovers.
Now the Ducks will await the NCAA selection committee's decision on whereabouts they will play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Oregon is now 23-9 for the year and even though tonight's loss snapped an eight game winning streak, that same win streak propelled the Ducks back into March Madness.
"We'll be excited," Alman said about going to the NCAA Tournament. "We'll get over the disappointment of tonight's ballgame, and we'll get back to Eugene. Sunday we'll be excited for the selection show then we'll get ready to play."