First off a bit of a disclaimer. I did not see the entire second overtime as my tape cut out. That said let's take the game in halves. First the overview:
The Bruins played without Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson, their top two scorers. The sophomore guards were suspended for the game for what first-year coach Steve Alford called a violation of team rules. They're expected to return to action Sunday night when the Bruins entertain Oregon State in their final home game of the season.
Jason Calliste added 18 points, Mike Moser had 12 points and a season-high 20 rebounds and Richard Amardi added 12 points for the Ducks (19-8, 7-8 Pac-12), who outrebounded the Bruins 50-38 while winning their fourth straight despite blowing a 15-point lead.
Freshman Bryce Alford led the Bruins (21-7, 10-5) with a career-high 31 points and six assists. Freshman Zach LaVine added 18 points and eight rebounds and Norm Powell scored 14 for UCLA.
Then on the first half. David Wear made a good point that they did not even have time to practice without Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson. It was a tough situation.
Adams and Anderson watched the game from the bench in street clothes. What they saw in the first half was far from pretty.
That was underscored by one 33-second sequence that started when Bryce Alford turned the ball over. The Ducks' Elgin Cook missed a layup in transition. The Bruins knocked the rebound out of bounds. Oregon's Damyean Dotson missed a three-pointer.
And so it went.
The Ducks shot 39% in the first half, and they were the "hot" team. UCLA had eight field goals in the first half and shot 30%.
Oregon is a bad team. UCLA came back for a number of reasons. One is Zach LaVine in the second half started handling the point more. The other reason is Norman Powell took over during the big run.
This was the setup. The Bruins turned up the effort in the second half, starting with an 8-2 run early on. Junior guard Norman Powell then scored seven straight points, part of a 9-0 run that cut the deficit to five with less than eight minutes left. Freshman guard Zach LaVine's three-point play trimmed the margin to three just inside five minutes.
Then the David Wear finish
No matter. With 1.2 seconds left in regulation, David Wear snuck behind the Ducks' defense and streaked upcourt for a wide-open 3-pointer. He caught an inbounds pass from his twin brother, Travis, and drilled a shot from some 30 feet away.
First the official stat notes:
Each team scored just two points in the first overtime session, sending a 73-73 tie to the second overtime period.
UCLA scored the first two points of the second overtime, but fell behind on a 3-pointer by Young with 2:31 to play. The Bruins were never able to tie the game from that point.
Alford (31 points), LaVine (18 points) and Norman Powell (14 points) each scored in double figures for UCLA. Alford became UCLA's first freshman to score at least 30 points in a game since Don MacLean tallied 41 points against North Texas on Dec. 30, 1988.
Four UCLA players each logged at least 40 minutes, with Alford and LaVine each playing 49 and 48 minutes, respectively.
But here are some other notes from the boxscore that makes us think this was a winnable game with a few tweaks by Steve Alford:
- The Wears had 8 rebounds in 78 minutes. Zach Lavine had the same from the 2 guard spot and Tony Parker had 10 in just 19 minutes. UCLA was outrebounded 50-38. UCLA needs Kyle Anderson's rebounding or Tony Parker on the floor.
- Bryce Alford had a hell of a game and proved to the doubters that he can play 2 guard at this level on offense. He did not look tired in 49 minutes as well. He was 5-12 from three and 12-13 from the line. His 4 turnovers were also high in the game and some of them were very costly. LaVine at times at point, other times helping out, had 5 assists and 0 turnovers.
- UCLA only had two steals for the game below Jordan Adams' average of 2.9 per game. Powell is effective up top in the zone or man, but seems more limited down low and was below his per game steal average. LaVine is a better natural rebounder and it might have helped to switch the two.
It was a gutty effort by the Bruin players. All the players deserve credit on the effort front. David Wear gets the last word.
Added David Wear: "It definitely hurts to lose a game like that. I thought everyone played as well as they could have played, as hard as they could have played."