Hump Day: Roll hits a 3 to force Overtime, but Oregon’s Matthew Humphrey hits back-to-back 3’s in O.T. (and 2 Free Throws) to lead the Ducks to a 71-66 victory that sends UCLA back to .500 in the Pac-10
The Bruins’ last 5 minutes EVER in “The Pit” were not too peachy.
UCLA was in Eugene, Oregon on Thursday night, playing in the unfriendly confines of infamous McArthur Court for the last time… thankfully. UCLA has had a few shocking losses in noisy “Mac Court” (aka “The Pit”) over the years, but for this year’s Bruins to lose on the road is never a shock. The Ducks had lost 5 in a row, but everyone expected a close game that could go either way.
The Bruins got off to a great start, building a 13 point lead, 29-16. But the Ducks started to apply an extended pressure defense, and it suddenly sped up the pace of the game, to the Ducks’ liking. Oregon scored 12 straight, and despite Nikola Dragovic’s 11 Points for the Bruins, the Ducks were down only 3 at the Break, 31-28.
The Ducks continued to force the issue in the 2nd half, and it enabled them to take a 47-40 lead with 12 minutes left. But the Bruins fought back, relying on three-pointers throughout the 2nd Half. The Bruins had to turn to fouling to lengthen the game, and it worked. Down by 2 with time running down, they fouled a Duck who made one and missed one, setting up Michael Roll for some temporary heroics. With 10 seconds left, Roll launched a LONG 3-pointer, and it went down to tie the game. The Ducks attempted a driving lay-up at the buzzer, but Reeves Nelson held his ground and the shot went awry.
In the extra session, Matthew Humphrey hit two 3’s in a row, the second one putting the Ducks up 61-57, and the Bruins never fully recovered. The Bruins DID have the ball down by only 3 with 10 seconds left, after Roll took the ball away from a Duck, but Oregon fouled Dragovic, and he MISSED THE FRONT END of the one-and-one. The Bruins had to foul again, and the Ducks made the Free Throws to make the Final Score 71-66.
The Bruins are now in a 5-way tie for 3rd place in the Pac-10 at 4-4. Every time the fans start getting some confidence in the team, the team stumbles. Jerime Anderson and Bobo Morgan did not play, due to injuries. Brendan Lane, and Mike Moser did not play, by Coach’s Decision. So the Bruins used only 7 players, in a tough, 45 minute game. Roll and Dragovic played FORTY-FOUR minutes each, Tyler Honeycutt — who was excellent and got his first Double-Double with 13 and 10 — played 40, and Malcolm Lee — who wasn’t excellent, going 1-9 — played 37. Is it possible that the Bruins were TIRED in Overtime? Roll had an airball and a bad Turnover, and the usually-stellar Free Throw shooter Drago missed a do-or-die Free Throw. Meanwhile, Oregon played 10 different players at least 5 minutes a piece. Is it possible that they were better-rested in O.T.?
The teams were strikingly even statistically. Here are the DIFFERENCES: FG %: 3%; Off. Reb.: 1; Rebounds: 3; Assists: 1; Steals: 0; Blocks: 0; Turnovers: 1. But the Ducks had the Home Court Advantage, and a guy who made 2 of 3 Trey’s and 2 of 2 FT’s in OT. And with four more made Free Throws in O.T., the Ducks had just enough to give the Bruins one last heartbreaker in The Pit.