Oregon Drops 83-74 Decision to UCLA

Eugene – The Oregon Ducks (6-8, 0-2) faced a hot 3-point shooting UCLA Bruins (12-2, 2-0) but still managed to make the game very competitive in the closing moments of the second half before falling 83-74. UCLA blistered the nets on 13-of-22 beyond the 3-point line but it was some freshmen mistakes and inability to convert a basket when they most needed is what spelled doom for the young Ducks

(PHOTO) Oregon's Joevan Catron (50) attempts to stop Darren Collison (2) as Tajuan Porter (12) looks on during the Oregon-UCLA game at McArthur Court in Eugene. (Photo by Chris Wilson

After being run off the court last Friday by USC, the Ducks came in today unafraid and ready for the Bruins. USC knocked off Oregon 83-62 in an early game on Friday but on Sunday, the young Ducklings played as if they were going for the conference championship. An appreciative crowd of 8,595 gave Oregon a round of applause as they left the court following the today's loss.

"I told my guys it was nice to hear the crowd applaud when they were leaving the floor," said Ernie Kent of his team's effort. "We played more solid than on Friday. I liked how they battled. There was more pressure on them because the game was on national TV, and I think they handled themselves extremely well, but we just got to get better."

While UCLA heated up in the first half by hitting eight of 10 shots in 3-point land, the Ducks continued to play steadily and trailed the Bruins 40-29 at the half. Oregon stayed poised for the most part and did not get discouraged by the sleek shooting Bruins. When the second half began Oregon trimmed the lead to 46-43 but between miscues by over-passing and simple mistakes like not inbounding the ball in 5-seconds cost the Ducks.

The game went back and forth with UCLA building its biggest lead of 12 at 72-60 but Oregon could not get any closer than seven at 81-74.

"They've been a really solid team for years now," confessed Kent of UCLA. "A few times we were right there, but they didn't let us close the gap."

For the game UCLA shot 54.3 percent on 25-of-46 field goal shooting including the 13-of-22 in 3s. Darren Collison led Bruin scoring with 22 and he was especially dangerous going 9-of-9 in free throw shooting. Josh Shipp was the big thorn in the Ducks' side hitting 5-of-6 in 3-pointers and finished the afternoon with a total of 17 points. Alfred Aboya had 12 before fouling out as did Nikola Dragovic.

"We got some open looks and knocked them down," said UCLA's Ben Howland. "Oregon pushed us to the limit."

Tajuan Porter led all scorers with 24 points on 8-of-18 shooting including 4-of-11 in 3s. Joevan Catron had 13 while LeKendric Longmire finished with 10.

Oregon as a team shot 44.4 percent on 24-of-54 and 8-of-18 outside the 3-point line. The Ducks out rebound UCLA 31-24 but two less assists, 17-15.

While the Ducks had some opportunities to take the lead, they were basically without the services of Michael Dunigan. Dunigan only saw a total of six minutes on the hardwood and he was held to three points, two rebounds and a block. Josh Crittle played the majority of minutes but also was called for four fouls. Crittle had three points, one rebound and two blocked shots.

"It was frustrating not to have him on the floor," Kent said of missing Dunigan's play. "We were right there a couple of time and felt like we shot ourselves in the foot."

At times it seemed the Ducks were incomplete control of the game then in an instant the young players were lost and not quite sure what to do next. Kent could only point out that a young team like Oregon is bound to have lapses like that, but it was easy to tell from the coach's expression that he wants to see his team maturing and taking advantage of the hard lessons learned. For the older players like Porter and Catron, what to do is clear.

"We played hard today," admitted Catron. "We just have to learn how to follow the game plan. We grew today as a team and we did well after a tough loss on Friday. We can't allow mental breaks. We need to be solid."

Now all the upperclassmen have to do is carry those thoughts through in practice so that when it comes time for decision, the underclassmen do so without hesitation.

"We definitely grew since the USC game," Catron said after the game. "We shared the ball and the defense played much better. We came out with a lot of energy. We know we need to make some corrections before the end of the season."

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