This is the sequel to the “highway robbery” game, which was a perfect description that Prince Ali used to describe UCLA’s miraculous 87-84 overtime victory over the Ducks in Eugene, Oregon on January 10th.
In that game, the Bruins scored 39 minutes in the last 12 minutes and set a Pac-12 Conference record with the largest comeback victory in the final minute of any game in the history of the conference. That win secured a 3-0 start for Murry Bartow, but the UCLA season has gone downhill from there.
Oregon (15-11, 6-7) has been up and down in the Pac-12 so far. The Ducks haven’t won more than two in a row, but also haven’t lost more than two in a row.
Injuries have definitely impacted Oregon this year. Freshman sensation Bol Bol is out for the year. Kenny Wooten has had to deal with a broken jaw and Paul White has had ankle issues this year.
The Ducks have been trotting out a starting lineup of Will Richardson, Payton Pritchard, Louis King, White and Wooten. Richardson broke into the starting lineup late in January against Washington State and did not start against the Bruins, but was the leading scorer off the bench with 11 points that night.
Oregon is coming off a Thursday evening loss to Southern Cal, 66-49, where they absolutely struggled offensively in the game. The Ducks shot 33% from the field and jusg 19% from behind the arc.
King led Oregon against the Trojans with 16 points and 6 rebounds. He is averaging 13.1 ppg this year for the Ducks while averaging 5.7 rebounds per game. In Pac-12 play, his numbers are even better. King is averaging 16 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. He was definitely a problem for the Bruins in the first match-up as he registered a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
The Oregon defense has held opponents to just 64.6 points per game, the 30th-lowest in Division I. Wooten, the Ducks leader in blocked shots, was not available for the first game against the Bruins and will definitely provide some resistance at the rim to the Bruins.
As a group of nine teams in the Pac-12 Conference jockey for position in the Pac-12 standings, the Bruins and the Ducks are part of that group of nine. So, this game is very important to both teams.