It was an ugly first half in which both teams could not shoot, except for Oregon State from three. OSU went 6-15 from three. (UCLA by comparison was 0-8 from three.) UCLA started similar to the Oregon game with senior Tony Parker scoring their first four points and then a guard chucking an out-of-offense quick three (this time Isaac instead of Bryce). After that, UCLA looked flat to start the game as well.
In any case, the threes were enough for Oregon State to lead for much of the half. However, Oregon State is the most dependent on a player of any team in the PAC 12. Without Gary Payton II, UCLA went on a late run to go in tied at 31 at half.
The other note in the first half was Steve Alford continued his bizarre and indecisive rotations. Noah Allen played before Ali. GG, in a rare game where he was not playing against better athletes, came in and turned the game around as he was really hustling. He was +4 in the plus minus in just four minutes. GG actually beat Oregon State to loose balls and had three rebounds. He was rewarded by being benched as Alford went big-big. Of course one thing remained constant Bryce and Isaac played all but three minutes.
The second half UCLA started out the same way, into Tony for a basket. Then UCLA went flat again. UCLA was low effort on defense and could not hit a shot from outside. Then Thomas Welsh showed he cared and hustled and hit three baskets in a row to keep us from completely folding.
Then the game changed for UCLA when Noah Allen (!!) got fouled by Gary Payton II on a three forcing Payton II to sit. UCLA finally hit a three when Holiday hit one with 9:34 left and the dunk defense was good when OSU Eubanks missed the wide open dunk.
However, UCLA could not take advantage of Oregon State even without Gary Payton II as OSU extended their lead. But hey Bryce hit some late threes so Steve Alford should have been happy. Except Bryce was knocked out by an unintentional but dangerous high elbow to the chin.
To the players' credit, they kept fighting without Bryce. Big-Big made it tough on Oregon State on the Boards (UCLA won the boards 46 to 33) and UCLA made it a game late with a press and scrambling defense. (Maybe Bryce out helped our D?) UCLA had a chance to tie with time running out but they could not quite do it as Holiday passed up an open three and had the ball stolen by Gary Payton II for the win for the Beavers.
Maybe this was a fitting end. The players played hard at times and there may never be a better indication of how much better on D UCLA is without Bryce than the last few minutes.
UCLA is a team that underachieved this season for one reason, Steve Alford. Alford is the first coach in UCLA in the Wooden or post Wooden era to finish worst than fourth in his third season and ties Steve Lavin in his last season (for which he was fired) for the worst PAC 12 season ever.
Please Dan Guerrero, make this Steve Alford's last game at Pauley.