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UCLA Basketball: Bruins Tinkle Past Beavers, 75-68

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UCLA improves to 9-5 in the Pac-12 with tonight’s victory against the Oregon State Beavers.

NCAA Basketball: Oregon State at UCLA Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight an Oregon State team came into to Pauley sporting a 5-7 Pac-12 record, 19 game road losing streak, and playing a second place UCLA team coming off a disappointing loss to Arizona State last Saturday. This game had all the makings of a UCLA blowout win. Let’s not forget the precarious position of UCLA when it comes to the “bubble” that some see UCLA on when it comes to the NCAA Tournament.

But this is the 2017-2018 Bruins, and they make the game of basketball very difficult at times, and tonight was no different.

First Half

The first half was a half of runs. UCLA went on an early 9-1 run, and after a Prince Ali dunk at the 11:48 mark, UCLA held a 22-14 lead. Zach Reichle then hit a 3 point shot, and UCLA answered by going on 12-4 run to head out to their largest lead of the half 34-21 at the 7:50 mark.

Oregon State then went on a 15-8 run of their own to close out the half. UCLA went into the locker room with a 42-36 lead.

UCLA once again had trouble protecting the ball as Oregon state had 11 points off of UCLA’s six turnovers. Another struggle for the Bruins during the first half was their struggles from behind the arc. UCLA shot 2-11 from behind the arc but fortunately Oregon State shot 3-11.

There was definitely balanced scoring for the Bruins during the first half, with all players scoring from the field except Jaylen Hands. Aaron Holiday paced the Bruins with 10 first half points.

Second Half

Oregon State decided to make sure this game was not going to be a blowout, as they went on an early 10-0 run to take a 49-48 lead at the 14:47 mark. UCLA immediately took the lead back as Jaylen Hands hit to FT’s on the next possession for a 50-49 lead.

The second half of basketball was just not good basketball by UCLA, Oregon State, or the awesome Pac-12 refs that stifled the flow of the second half of basketball.

The Bruins and the Beavers combined to take 55 free-throws, with both teams shooting below the 70% mark from the line.

UCLA’s shooting woes extended to behind the arc as they had another poor shooting night from three. UCLA shot 4-21 for 19%, and that poor shooting was the main reason UCLA could not pull away from the Beavers in the second half.

One area where UCLA was able to dominate was on the glass. The Bruins out-rebounded the Beavers 51-38. Thomas Welsh was the main reason for this dominance as he pulled down a staggering 17 boards to pace the Bruins.

UCLA was led by Aaron Holiday’s 17 points.

Alfred Hollins led the Beavers with 24 points.

UCLA avenged Oregon State’s 69-63 victory over UCLA on Jan. 18. The Bruins now lead the all-time series 95-39 and are 54-8 in Los Angeles against the Beavers.

Now UCLA will play against an Oregon team that lost an absolute heart-breaker to Southern California 72-70.

Obviously we cannot say Saturday’s game is a must win, but Saturday’s game at Pauley against the Ducks is a huge game for the Bruins as they march towards a hopeful NCAA tourney bid.

I follow and watch TeamRankings.com, as they run computer projections to predict who will make the tournament. They project UCLA to finish 20-10, and they currently UCLA is slotted to be 10 seed, with a 41% chance of not getting a bid. This did not take into consideration tonight's game.

UCLA Player Grades

Aaron Holiday B

Holiday had a good game, double-double, but it was by far not his best game of the year as he shot 4-13 from the field.

Thomas Welsh A-

Mr. Double-Double strikes again. Welsh just plays and is the most efficient player on the Bruins.

Jaylen Hands C

Shot selection continues to be a struggle for him. 1-8 from the field is not going to get it done. He did pull down 8 rebounds.

Alex Olesinski C

It was a night that Ole was pretty much a body out there. He did pull down 8 rebounds.

Kris Wilkes C-

He just disappears sometimes, and his talent level is too high to do that. Tonight was another disappearing act, specifically in the second half.

Prince Ali C

Tonight’s game was an improvement for Ali but 3-8 from the FT line is not going to get it done.

Gyorgy Goloman C

GG played an average game tonight.

Chris Smith D

Smith received limited minutes, and his grade reflects that more than anything else.

Go Bruins!