UCLA Runs by Oregon State in Conference Opener

The Beaver defense held UCLA to just two field goals in the first five minutes of the game, but once UCLA found their grove, they were tough to stop on Friday night at Gill Coliseum. The Beavers fell to the Bruins for an eighth consecutive time, this time by the score of 69-46 in front of a season-high crowd of 5,629. 

After the Beavers shut down the Bruins down early in the game, UCLA went on to take a 21 point lead at the half. The Beavers could never climb back into the game in the second half, despite playing the Bruins fairly evenly in the final 20 minutes. The Beavers never really settled into their offense, and UCLA's fervent defense kept OSU's shooters off balance. Craig Robinson said it best in a post-game interview with Mike Parker:

"Our defense was fine, what was killing us was our fast shots that led to fast breaks for them. When we shot the ball fast, they got it out quickly. But when we made them play in the half court, I was pretty happy with the amount of pressure we were putting on.  As we keep learning, and as we keep getting used to the league, we'll be in games."

In the second half the Beavers shot 52 percent from the field, which was impressive compared to the 35 percent they shot in the first half. Although many of UCLA's reserves received substantial minutes in the second half, it was still an improvement that Craig Robinson was impressed with.  

"We're going to have some setbacks, but at least we had a second half that gives us some confidence and lets us know that we can play with a team that's considered the best team in the league."

Once again, Oregon State was led in scoring by Calvin Haynes, who had 16 points off the bench. Omari Johnson, Seth Tarver, and Rickey Claitt all had seven.

For UCLA, Darren Collison and Michael Roll each had 16 points. Collison was 7-of-10 from the field, and Roll was a perfect 4-of-4 from the three point line. Freshman Drew Gordon added 11 for the Bruins, who move to 11-2 with the win.

Pregame Keys Revisited:

  1. Control the Tempo: Oregon State never really settled into their offense in the first half, which was when the outcome of the game was decided. Like coach Craig Robinson (who is Barack Obama's brother-in-law, if the FSN telecast didn't make that clear enough to you) said in the postgame quote above, UCLA's smothering man-to-man defense forced the Beavers to take quick, contested shots. 
  2. Break the Press: UCLA never really got to the point where they had to pressure the Beavers to speed up the tempo, they just controlled the pace with their defense. 
  3. Rebound: The Beavers were out-rebounded 31 to 25, but where they really suffered was on the offensive glass. The Bruins had 12 offensive boards (Alfred Aboya led the way with five), compared to OSU's 4. That's a lot of extra opportunities for an offense as potent as UCLA's.  

Oregon State held the Bruins to under their season scoring average, which is a small moral victory. However, the Bruins allowed under their season defensive scoring average, so there's a small moral defeat.

With the loss, the Beavers fall to 5-6 on the season and 0-1 in the Pac-10. That now moves to streak to 21 straight regular season conference losses, and 23 straight conference losses when you include the Pac-10 Tournament.

The Beavers will look to once again to end that streak Sunday at Gill, when the USC Trojans come to town. The Trojans are 10-3 on the season, most recently defeating Oregon 83-62 at Mac Court. 

More on the Trojans coming tomorrow... you can get the UCLA perspective on this game by heading over to Bruins Nation.

GO BEAVERS!

--Jake (jake.buildingthedam@gmail.com)

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