The second-seeded Bruins (23-8, 12-6 in the Pac-12) started off the Pac-12 Conference Tournament with a bye for the first round, setting up to play the winner of a game between the #7 seed Oregon Ducks and #10 seed Oregon State Beavers. The Ducks (23-8, 10-8 in the Pac-12) cruised to a 88-74 victory to move into the next round of the tournament.
The Bruins are partially responsible for getting the Ducks on the crazy run at the end of the year to get into a position to be the #7 seed at all, after the double overtime loss the Bruins suffered after the one game suspension of their two best players, so it is a nice story for the conference to work with in the tournament.
The Wear twins accounted for the first 8 points for the Bruins, highlighted by two 3-pointers by Travis Wear and the Bruins controlled the pace in the first 6 minutes, taking a 13-7 lead into the first TV timeout.
Out of the timeout, the Ducks seemed to take advantage of the lackluster transition defense of the second unit for the Bruins to go on a 11-6 run in the next 4 minutes of play to close the gap to just a 1-point advantage for UCLA at 19-18, led by aggressive drives in transition by Joseph Young and Jason Calliste.
Both team went cold for a couple of minutes before Jonathan Loyd made another transition layup to give Oregon the lead, but Tony Parker answered back with a solid post-move to knot the score at 21 with 7:25 left in the first half.
After the next timeout, former Bruin Mike Moser made a nice play to get the Ducks the lead, but Zach LaVine answered with a 3-pointer to get the lead and his first points of the game. After another Oregon jumpshot, Jonathan Loyd was pressing hard on Bryce Alford, when Alford checked him with an elbow that connected right on Loyd's chin. The officials somehow called a foul on Loyd and ruled the elbow incidental (half of that call was right, elbow wasn't dirty, but there was no foul) and "The Ball Didn't Lie" as Alford missed the front-end of the 1-and-1.
Jordan Adams decided to get in on the poor foul shooting and miss the front-end of his own 1-and-1, while Oregon's Dominic Artis scored after Adams got burnt in man-defense, giving Oregon a 27-24 lead. The Ducks would keep that difference into the final TV timeout of the first half, with the score 29-26 in favor of the Ducks.
Kyle Anderson was a total non-factor in the majority of the first half, not scoring until the 2:21 mark in the first half. But when he did turn it on, he took over the game. Scoring easily on a drive and converting a free throw, making another bucket to answer a 3-pointer by Oregon, getting a steal on the other end to start up a fast break layup by Norman Powell and then topping it off with a monster dunk to give UCLA a 37-35 lead at the half.
Very balanced scoring by the Bruins in the first (Anderson 7, Adams 7, Travis Wear 8 and Powell 6), while the Ducks leaned on Joseph Young's 14 points to lead all scorers.
The Bruins started the 2nd half hot, capitalizing on three Ducks' turnovers and playing great team defense to go on a 23-8 run to start the half and take a 17-point lead at 60-43. All of the starters played great during the run, but the Wears combined for 11 points and 3 assists (all by Travis) during the run that took up the first 8+ minutes of the 2nd half.
After that run, whether or not it was going to be a blowout depended on Oregon's effort trying to go on a run. The next stretch of play was essentially a push with a 16-15 score over the stretch from 11:49 to 3:46, with the score 76-58.
At the end, with the game being such a blowout, the Ducks had to go into desperation mode to narrow the gap. But fouling early in the half got them stuck in the double bonus, negating any advantage of fouling with the 1-and-1 in play. The 3-pointers weren't falling, UCLA kept making shots and getting rebounds without turning it over and at the end of the game, Wannah Bail and Noah Allen got to get some playing time.
The final score ended up 82-63 in favor of UCLA. Almost every Bruin played above average. Perhaps exceptions could be made for Bryce Alford (whose shot was a little off) and Tony Parker, who got into foul trouble and didn't rebound at all.
Travis Wear had one of his best games of the season, going 14-5-5 on 6-8 shooting. After the slow start, Kyle Anderson was himself (11 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocked shots and 3 steals). Jordan Adams led UCLA in scoring with 15 and also chipped in 3 steals. Zach LaVine (14 with three 3-pointers), David Wear (11 points on 4-5 shooting) and Norman Powell (9 points and 4 rebounds) all played very solid and it would be tough to beat the Bruins if 6 players score 9 or more point in a game.
Oregon's Joseph Young had a hell of a game with 29 points (10-18 and 6-8 from 3-point range) but only one other Duck (Moser with 8) scored more than 5 points.
The biggest difference, in my opinion, between this matchup and the previous one was that Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams playing allowed UCLA to have a bench. The bench scoring in the Bruins' earlier loss to Oregon was 39-4 (which is just insane) in favor of the Ducks, in this game it was 22-18 in favor of the Bruins.
The Bruins will take on the winner of the late game between #6 seed Stanford and #3 seed Arizona State on Friday in the semifinals of the Pac-12.