Lee lays large load on lame Ducks, egging on Bruins to shoot down 8-point deficit and win going away, 64-54
All that Nike money, and Oregon still can’t get all their Ducks in a row. Actually, the Oregon Basketball team has improved dramatically this Season. They were expected to really lay an egg in Conference play, but they had been on a roll lately, even beating #20 Washington last week. And they started pretty effectively on Thursday night, hatching a Defensive scheme that feathered their nest with an 8-point, first half lead over UCLA. But then, they quacked under pressure.
UCLA started out slowly and sloppily, missing lay-ups, turning the ball over, and missing Free Throws. It was as if it were 10am. The Bruins’ poor shooting and all-around poor play allowed the Ducks to get a substantial lead late in the first half. Malcolm Lee was the only Bruin who could find the hoop, scoring 11 of UCLA’s first 16 points, as the Bruins found themselves trailing 24-16. But then, the Bruins started crawling back, as the rest of the team woke up. Three other players scored three consecutive hoops to cut the lead to 28-25 at the Break.
And in the second half, by finally dominating the boards and passing better, UCLA continued to take over the game. Tyler Honeycutt totalled THIRTEEN Rebounds and SIX Assists, as the Bruins repeatedly found Lee in position to score inside. Lee finished with a season-high 25 Points, only 6 of which came from behind the arc. Oregon’s Zone made it very tough for the Bruin big men to score inside, but that left openings for Lee to penetrate, with and without the ball. Honeycutt had only 1 Turnover, but he threw about 4 passes that got knocked away. He was fortunate that the ball went out of bounds off a Duck, almost every time. 6-to-1 is a fantastic Assist-to-Turnover ratio, but he still needs to work on his decision-making, and on putting the ball where his teammates can HANDLE it.
The second half stayed very close, but the Bruins edged ahead for good with about 8 minutes to go. Reeves Nelson scored 9 and grabbed 9 caroms, and gave Oregon fits around the basket. But it was Jerime Anderson who teamed with Lee to give the Bruins the scoring punch that they needed. Anderson hit two big Three’s and scored 10 Points, and also got a beautiful blocked shot. Lazeric Jones also contributed, coming back from his subpar performance against St. John’s, to deliver 6 Assists and score 10 Points.
The combined Guard play allowed UCLA to build their lead to 8, at 54-46, with under 5 minutes to go, and the Ducks never threatened after that. The Bruin Defense was pretty good all night, with Anthony Stover making his presence felt early, and with a three-guard line-up working late, after Joshua Smith got in foul trouble (on mostly ticky-tack calls).
At the end of the game, when the result was nowhere near being in doubt, there was almost a big fight. The Ducks fouled Reeves Nelson hard, and when Nelson got up, he almost charged his defender. But the Refs and Nelson’s teammates saw it coming, and kept him separated before he could do anything stupid. The foul was uncalled for and unnecessary, but the Bruins didn’t really need the bucket at that point, so I’m not sure the Student Section’s “Have Some Class” chant at the Ducks was entirely warranted either.
Below are 30 photos from the game, including one of Ben Howland running out into the near-melee.