Westwood, CA – The unranked Oregon Ducks (10-6) pulled off an impressive upset against the No. 3 UCLA Bruins (10-2) in an 84-81 overtime victory on Thursday evening.
Both teams were trading baskets in overtime and were tied at 79 with 2:48 minutes left to go.
Even with no fans in the audience, the suspense could be cut with a knife.
A jumper by Jacob Young put Oregon out in front 81-79 at the 2:30 mark.
Young then hit another bucket in the clutch to give his team a four-point lead 83-79 with 24 seconds to go.
Oregon’s Will Richardson was fouled on a fast break and hit one of two free throws to go up 84-81 with nine seconds left in the game.
UCLA had two three-point opportunities to tie it and send it into double overtime but couldn’t connect.
“We did not play well,” said UCLA head coach Mick Cronin. “Shot selection, ball security, defense, none of the above. Somehow, we made enough shots to stay in the game. The only bright spot is Peyton Watson’s effort. His eight rebounds.”
Young ran the show for Oregon with 23 points and shot 11-18 from the field.
Oregon held their own against UCLA in the first half and trailed by only five points 35-30 going into halftime.
The Ducks struggled from beyond the arc in the first half and went 1-9 on 11% from the three.
At the top of the second half, Oregon came out swinging and tied the game at 35 with back-to-back buckets within a span of 50 seconds.
“Defensively, to come out in the second half and have four deflections and give up 52% and 62% in overtime is just an abomination. It’s an abomination. It’s embarrassing. I’ll fix it though or I’ll get new players,” said Cronin.
The Ducks made up for their abysmal three-point shooting in the first half by knocking them down in the second half to go 5-9 with 55.6% from distance.
UCLA struggled to get settled offensively.
Active hands by Oregon frustrated the UCLA offense allowing them to take over the lead.
“We weren’t prepared. It’s my fault. It’s my job. We didn’t play defense. We didn’t take care of the ball. Even when we started sharing the ball, then all of a sudden, we started taking terrible shots,” said Cronin.
Oregon’s largest lead was nine and they went on an 11-0 run to lead 46-37 at the 16.07 mark in the second half.
“What happens in this game you are either humble and hungry like they were trying to pull off the so-called upset, or you’re arrogant without cause because we’ve won nothing. We’re arrogant without cause. Even if we would have won, I would have felt the same way,” said Cronin.
Oregon head coach Dana Altman reached his 700 career wins milestone with this victory.
UCLA has won four of its last five home games against Oregon.
“I tell our guys that people that make it in life whether it’s sports or basketball, you’ve got two things, urgency and pride. I think the other team had both tonight. They played with a lot of pride and they had a sense of urgency and you see what happened,” said Cronin.
UCLA guard Jules Bernard shared how his team plans to learn from this game and how they plan to prepare for Saturday’s matchup against Oregon State.
“Obviously, we have to learn from our mistakes this game. We’re not done. We know we played poorly today. We’re definitely going to study and realize what we did wrong in this game and implement it into practice tomorrow and come into Saturday with our heads high looking to get a win for our team.”
UCLA hosts Oregon State on Saturday, January 15th, at 7:30 p.m.