Ducks Can't Hold On

For most of the game the Oregon Ducks (15-12, 6-9) looked like they might just do the unthinkable and knock off the No. 5 ranked UCLA Bruins (24-3, 12-2) but key turnovers and energized play by Kevin Love in the last five minutes of the contest gave the Bruins a 75-65 win.

(PHOTO) Oregon's Bryce Taylor goes over UCLA's Kevin Love for a big slam during the second half of a basketball game in Los Angeles on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2008. UCLA beat Oregon 75-65. (AP Photo/Branimir Kvartuc)

The Ducks put on a strong performance for 35 minutes of the game, leading at half time 34-3. At one point Oregon built an 11-point advantage at 48-37 in the second half but UCLA's quick defenders caused turnovers that led to easy baskets and the Ducks couldn't seem to catch a break. UCLA took control of the game with 5:57 left in the game when they recaptured the lead at 54-53 and from that point on it was Love grabbing three of his game high 11 rebounds and 6-of-8 free throws to seal the win. Love drew four fouls in the final five minutes that essentially iced the game for the Bruins.

Love ended the afternoon scoring 15 points but he had struggled for most of the contest.

Oregon was led in scoring by Maarty Leunen with 17 points, followed by Malik Hairston with 16 and Tajuan Porter with 15. Porter had started the game off with two consecutive 3-pointers however, as the game went along the quick guard could not find a good shooting spot on the floor. The Ducks shot 44.4 percent from the floor on 24-of-54 including an impressive 9-of-18 in 3-point shooting. Oregon did not get any help from the Pac-10 officiating crew as the Ducks were whistled for 25 fouls compared to UCLA's 11. Joevan Catron and Hairston both fouled out of the contest while no Bruin had more that two calls made against them.

Leunen also recorded 11 rebounds for the game.

Darren Collison led the way for UCLA with 17 points while Russell Westbrook added 16 and Josh Shipp had 10. UCLA shot 50 percent from the field on 26-of-52 shooting including 2-of-7 in 3-point attempts. However the Bruins were 21-of-31 in free throw attempts while Oregon only had 8-of-13 from the line.

The loss now puts Oregon's hopes of a NCAA invitation in grave condition. Oregon must win the next three games plus win at least two games in the Pac-10 Tournament in order of having any hope of continuing on in March Madness. The other possibility of an invitation to the NCAAs is winning the Pac-10 Tournament, which the Ducks did do last year.

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