DUCKS UPSET #1 RANKED UCLA 68-66

Eugene, OR - The 16th ranked Oregon Ducks (14-1, 2-1) defeated #1 ranked UCLA (14-1, 3-1) 68-66 at McArthur Court on Saturday handing the Bruins their first loss of the season in a wild finish at The Pit. The Ducks played inspired basketball to emphatically answer back from their only loss of the season on Thursday to USC.

After leading the entire second half, Oregon found itself tied with 20 seconds remaining after a three-pointer by Bruin guard Darren Collison.

Aaron Brooks
answered right back driving the length of the floor before drilling a clutch short jumper along the baseline with 13.9 seconds left, giving Oregon the final margin of victory.

"I heard Collison calling for a trap" said Brooks of his final shot. Before that could happen, Brooks calmly squared-up and hit his game winner.

UCLA had a chance to tie or take the lead with a three-pointer on the final possession. However, Maarty Leunen pressured Bruin Josh Shipp into an off-balance three that didn't come close.

Time expired and the raucous crowd rushed the court to celebrate Oregon's upset of the top-rated Bruins.

Oregon coach Ernie Kent exclaimed it was an "outstanding college basketball game" and noted how "much passion was in that building (McArthur Court)" refering to Oregon's vocal capacity crowd of 9,087.

On the final play, Taylor said that Oregon "switched everything defensively" and tried to force a "contested jumper" by keeping their man in front of them. The strategy worked to perfection.

It was a huge win for Oregon, and a great performance by Brooks who led all scorers with 25 points. Oregon guard Bryce Taylor, who scored 11 points to go along with five rebounds, commented that "Aaron is clutch, we look for him to take over at the end of the game. I've never played with anyone like him."

Said Bruin coach Ben Howland on Brooks performance, "I thought Brooks was spectacular tonight. He is an outstanding talent." Howland observed that credit should go "to the Ducks. This was an amazing basketball environment. They are an NCAA tourney team."

Brooks continued his sensational play of late with 16 points in the first half on perfect shooting from the field, 5-5, and the line, 6-6, to lead all scorers. Brooks along with Maarty Leunen, who scored 13 points in the half with two threes, sparked a 13-3 run midway through the half as the Ducks opened an 18-11 lead.

Oregon closed the half strong behind the solid play of Taylor and Brooks to take a 40-30 lead into the break on a season-high 70 percent shooting from the field, hitting on 14 of 20 attempts. The Bruins shot only 36 percent from the field in the half but out rebounded Oregon 19-10.

The experienced and talented Bruins answered right back in the 2nd half with a 8-0 run to open the half and get right back into the game. Josh Shipp and Aaron Afflalo both tallied 14 points for UCLA and kept the Bruins close in the tense second half.

Tujuan Porter and Chamberlain Oguchi sparked a key spurt late in the second half giving the Ducks a nine-point cushion that they would desperately need. Porter hit a three, Oguchi converted a three-point-play and Porter hit three free throws after being fouled on a three point attempt. The quick burst gave Oregon a 62-53 lead.

Leunen was big for Oregon down the stretch and had 18 points and seven rebounds on the game. Leunen claimed a key rebound and was fouled at the 1:28 mark, hitting both free throws to give Oregon a 66-61 lead. Leunen then drew a charging foul against UCLA before contesting Shipp's final shot as the crowd chanted "Maarty!"

Leunen commented after the game that this was "probably the biggest game in my three years here. We had a lot to prove, and this was a huge win for us to beat the number one team in the nation."

Both Brooks and Taylor said that the win proves Oregon "can play with anybody" in the nation. UCLA's last loss was in the NCAA championship game last spring against Florida. The Bruins were trying to go 15-0 for the first time since the 1972-73 team went 30-0 to win the national championship.

Today is the first time in 19 years that Oregon has hosted the #1 ranked team in the nation - Arizona beat Oregon 70-54 in 1988. The last time that UCLA came to Eugene as the nation's #1 ranked team was in February of 1974 when the Ducks upset UCLA and Bill Walton 56-51, earning the cover story of Sports Illustrated.

Notes: Adam Zahn left the game in the first half, requiring four stitches for a cut.

Malik Hairston was out again with a bruised heel. Kent said that he hopes to have Malik back for the Arizona trip.

Oregon was out rebounded 35-22 for the game, the largest deficit of the season.

Joey Harrington and Phil Knight were both in attendance.

Oregon plays next at Arizona State on Thursday night.

Official boxscore from goducks.com

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