The UCLA Bruins are playing better, but is not ready to play against the conference elite. Oregon’s Payton Pritchard and Chris Duarte were too much for UCLA.
It didn’t start bad. The first four minutes were played UCLA-style: tough defense, an offensive rebound, basket and ,as a bonus, a three. But Pritchard hit a Steph Curry three. The Ducks grabbed a loose ball caused by good defense, which led to a layup. The Oregon Ducks led, 10-9.
Then, Oregon’s press led to steals and baskets. Pritchard was also too good and the Ducks went on a 14-0 run capped off with UCLA having six players on the floor and resulting in a technical foul. The Bruins were averaging a turnover a minute .
To make matters worse, Tyger Campbell was hurt with a thigh bruise and out.
UCLA couldn’t buy a bucket after the run while Duarte and Pritchard continued to kill them. It ended up being a 30-5 run.
The Ducks scored 48 points in the first half, going 9 for 15 from three. Duarte alone had 20 points. The Bruins had 14 turnovers, but it felt like more and they trailed, 48-26, at the half.
In the second half, there was a symbol of a Cronin team. With UCLA down 19 points, two players dove for the ball, Chris Smith came up with it. Jaime Jaquez Jr. got the pass and drove the court for a tough “and 1.” This team never gives up, regardless of the score. It was part of a 15-4 Bruin run. UCLA played mostly even with the Ducks except for that terrible run in the first half.
- Player of the game for UCLA: Jake Kyman. As ArmyBruin mentioned, Kyman plays within himself. He scored on some nice mid-range jumpers off the dribble as well as some threes. He finished with 20 points on 7 for 11 from the field and 4 for 8 from three. Kyman plays decent defense as well. Jalen Hill had a nice first half and David Singleton also had a nice game too.
- Press: To say that UCLA struggled with the press is an understatement. It did not help that Tyger Campbell was hurt and the Bruins were facing a press without the team’s only true point guard. Cronin will have to prepare UCLA for it in the future as it makes sense to try to speed up UCLA.
- Step up in Class: UCLA isn’t ready to play with the top teams in the conference. UCLA does not have talent to play with Southern Cal or Oregon, nor the skill to play with Stanford. Except for a last second three against Washington State, UCLA will have beaten the teams the Bruins should have beated and lost to the teams they should have lost to regardless of where the game was played.