Roberto Nelson scrambled to 17 points to lead Oregon St., but it wasn't enough against a bigger, deeper, and more talented UCLA team. - (USA Today Sports photo by Richard Mackson)
It was the First visit by Oregon St. to "New" Pauley Pavillion, after UCLA completed their major renovation, but the game was a lot like so many in "Original" Pauley, where the Big Bad Bruins were so often bigger, deeper, and better than the Beavers.
Former UCLA great Jamal Wilkes had his jersey retired to the rafters at the game, and Oregon St. was well represented, with A.C. Green in attendance. But he was "outnumbered", not just by former LA Laker team-mate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, whom he sat with, but also the likes of Bill Walton, Marcus Johnson, and Don MaClean.
So it was on the floor, not unlike so many other trips to LA, for the Beavers, as the 24th ranked Bruins won for the 50th time in 57 meetings in LA. It was also the 89th win in the series for UCLA, against 35 by Oregon St.
The Beavers actually got off to a good start, jumping to a 9-4 lead, but then lost track of Travis Wear, who hit the first of what would be too many uncontested 3 pointers to count.
Roberto Nelson, who had 10 of his team high 17 points in the first half, rebuilt the lead to 12-7, but even with the Beavers switching out of man defense to a 2-3 zone, the Bruins continued to find opportunities for wide open 3 pointers, and back to back ones by Shabazz Muhammad and Norman Powell started a 10-0 UCLA run.
Oregon St. suffered a 3 minute scoring drought between 4 Joe Burton points, and an 18-5 UCLA run put the Bruins ahead for good.
The Beavers managed just one basket by Nelson in the last 5 minutes of the half, and the Bruins took a 37-26 lead to the locker room. Nelson and Burton combined for 18 points in the first half, but T. Wear, Muhammad, and freshman Kyle Anderson combined for 24 points to that point for the Bruins.
Especially without Eric Moreland, who was, along with Victor Robbins, serving the last game of their suspensions for violation of team rules, the Beavers were short on all accounts in matching up with the Bruins. Moreland, the conference leader in double doubles, as well as the #2 player in the Pac-12 in shooting percentage, rebounding, and blocked shots, left a big gap not only in the Oregon St. offense, but also their defense, and the lack of depth had a lot to do with UCLA's runs.
"When we get tired, we stop running our stuff," Oregon St. head coach Craig Robinson felt, "and we start doing more man on man stuff. I can control that, and I've got to do a better job of that."
The Bruins jumped out of the locker room, and the Beavers suffered another scoring drought of nearly 4 minutes, and UCLA surged to a 48-28 lead at the 16:07 mark, the largest of the game.
Oregon St. battled back, and a Nelson 3 pointer cut the deficit to 10 points by midway in the second half, pulling the Beavers within 58-48, but UCLA responded with a 7-0 run.
Olaf Schaftenaar came off the Beavers' bench with 3 second half 3 pointers, which facilitated Oregon St. pulling within 12 points 3 different times, but it took until there was only a minute left before a dunk by Devon Collier got the Beavers within 10 points, down 72-62.
The Beavers didn't get any closer, and the Bruins ran out the clock for the 74-64 final.
"I loved our effort level, and the way we fought back," Robinson said, "but I'm really disappointed in myself that I didn't get us better prepared. And we have to play better defense."
Schaftenaar's 3 point shooting put him in double digits for the first time in his collegiate career, with 10 points. but Burton, with 12, was the only other Beaver in double figures. Burton also led Oregon St. on the boards, with 8 rebounds.
Collier was held in check all night, and finished with just 9 points, and 7 rebounds. Starks, who was smothered most of the night by Anderson, who is a full foot taller, finished with just 5 points, and made only 1 of 5 3 pointers he put up.
Muhammad, the Bruins' leading scorer, led UCLA with a game high 21 points, and both T. Wear and Anderson finished with 17, with David Wear leading the Bruin bench, with 6 points and 4 rebounds. Anderson, a 6'9" guard, had a game high 9 rebounds, and T. Wear grabbed another 7.
UCLA improved to 15-3, and 5-0 in the Pac-12 to retain sole possession of first place in the conference. The Bruins have won 10 games in a row, and is now 11-1 at "New Pauley".
Oregon St. dropped their 4th game in a row, and 5 of their last 6, and take a 10-7 season record, and an 0-4 conference mark, into their Saturday game at USC. It was the third straight 10 point loss for the Beavers while missing Moreland's 11 points per game, game in which Oregon St. was also out-rebounded in.