For UCLA and Oregon State, this year was a case of the old real estate adage: location, location, location.
In their opening meeting in Corvallis, UCLA shot a miserable 31% from the field and were 6 of 25 from 3 point land and weren't close in an 11 point loss.
Fortunately for the Bruins, tonight's matchup was at Pauley, and we know what property costs in Westwood. The Bruins played like they were at home by shooting a nice 48% from the field including 10 of 18 from behind the arc, while holding Oregon State to just 38% from the field. The Bruins dominated the battle on the boards 46-26. You can see the full stats and box score here.
The Bruins were led on the scoring sheet by Bryce Alford with 22, including back to back 3's to close out the first half and give the Bruins a 15 point lead going into the locker room. The Bruins also had strong performances from Isaac Hamilton who added 16 points and 9 assists, Tony Parker with an impressive 15 and 10 (and a surprising 7 of 9 from the FT line) and Thomas Welsh added 7 points from the typically quiet bench as he flashed a couple nice jump hooks. The key on offense tonight was Hamilton who had the ball more and fed the post regularly. This was his best offensive game of the year.
The Bruins packed it in low on defense, forcing OSU into a lot of jumpers. Only OSU PG Gary Payton II was a threat for the Beavers, racking up 24 points on 9 of 15 shooting, many of which came in the paint and at the rim. U.C.L.A. was in control of this game from the start, hitting 4 3 pointers in the first 5 minutes of the game and built that 15 point lead at halftime, and led by as much as 20 in the 2nd half.
As chrisorr wrote in the game thread, nearly every game is a must win for the Bruins if they are going to grab that long shot at getting a spot in the Tournament. With Arizona still looming ahead on the schedule, the Bruins have to take care of business against everyone else. They took that step tonight at home and now sit at 15-10 on the season. They'll have to continue their good home court play against a good Oregon team on Saturday and then find a way to maintain that level on the road in the desert the following week.