UCLA held Oregon St.'s Roberto Nelson, the Pac-12's leading scorer, to just 12 points, barely above half his average, but the Bruins forgot to contain freshman Hallice Cooke. Cooke came up with 4 of Oregon St.'s 8 3 pointers, and also knocked down the game icing free throws with 5 seconds left that earned the Beavers the 71-67 win over UCLA in Sunday's Super Bowl warmup at Gill Coliseum. Only 4,509 fans turned out due to the significant Seattle-Denver game later in the day, probably the smallest crowd for a UCLA game in a generation or two. But those who did, or warmed up their tvs with the tame, were treated to one of the more exciting Bruin-Beaver games in that time.
What turned out to be a game of big runs started out anything but, as the game was tied at 3, 6, 8, 10, & 13 points apiece. And it was a 3 point shooting contest early on, with the first 4 baskets all coming from beyond the 3 point arc, as Nelson countered 3s by both of the Wear twins, David and Travis, with 2 of his own, one from 30 feet out. In all, there were 9 made 3s in less than 12 minutes, accounting for 27 of the first 39 points.
Cooke had one of those, foreshadowing things to come, but Bryce Alford wrapped 2 of them around one by Kyle Anderson to start the first of several significant runs in the game.
The 9-0 burst on 3 shots eventually turned into a 13-0 run as UCLA opened an 11 point, 27-18 lead, the Bruins' largest of the game, before Eric Moreland, who was the entirety of Oregon St.'s inside scoring to that point, stopped it, and ended an over 4 minute long Beaver scoring drought.
Cooke connected on another 3 pointer, and Angus Brandt added back to back baskets, as Oregon St. began to figure out the UCLA 2-3 zone, and answered with a 9-0 run A a dunk by Moreland and another Brandt basket pulled the Beavers within 31-29 at the break.
Both teams were 5 of 13, 38.5%, on 3 pointers in the first half.
Cooke sparked a strong Oregon St. run out of the locker room to start the second half, twice tieing the game, and accounting for 9 of the 11 points in the 10-4 start to the second half, with 3 baskets, 1 his 3rd 3 pointer of the day, and also an assist on a lob pass to Langston Morris-Walker.
Of equal importance, T. Wear picked up his 3rd personal foul only a minute after the break.
Devon Collier got in on the action as well, with a pair of baskets, on his way to 10 points, and the best game off the bench of the game for either team, as Oregon St. pulled out to a 43-37 lead less than 4 minutes into the second half.
But Collier was then involved in the sequence that swung the game back into UCLA's control.
After Alford cut the deficit in half with a 3 pointer, an exchange of fouls amounted to a 6 point play for the Bruins. Collier appeared to have scored on an inbound pass, but Alford was correctly called for a holding foul first, wiping out the basket. Replay also revealed an inadvertent elbow from Collier to Alford's jaw, resulting in a flagrant 1 technical.
Jordan Adams hit both the free throws, and Kyle Anderson. UCLA's leading scorer, who had been held scoreless for over 8 minutes into the second half, hit another pair of free throws after the extra possession ended in a foul by Brandt.
It turned into a 9-0 UCLA run when Zach Levine got a steal and layup, and a 46-43 Bruin lead, before Brandt scored the Beavers' first points in 6 minutes, on a pair of free throws.
Oregon St. head coach Craig Robinson made the tactical call of the game, electing to take a time out at 8:02, seconds before a stoppage would have resulted in a media timeout.
Out of the break, Nelson finally found his way to the line, and made a pair of free throws for his first points in 28 mostly double-teamed minutes. The Beavers then switched to their 1-3-1 defense, which thoroughly frustrated the Bruins.
Oregon St. went on a 6-0 run that forced UCLA coach Steve Alford into a timeout, which would start a clock management problem that would impact the end of the game.
Cooke connected on his 4th 3 pointer of the game to achieve a new career high of 18 points, and make it a 56-52 Oregon St. lead, and then, with still 4:41 to go, T. Wear fouled out of the contest.
Morris-Walker connected on a 3 pointer with less than 4 minutes to go, forcing yet another Bruin time out, and the Beaver run eventually extended to 18-2, as both Collier and Nelson connected on pairs of free throws with under 3 minutes to go, extended Oregon St.'s lead to 11 points, their largest of the game.
Down 65-54, it looked like UCLA was about to get run out of Gill. But the Bruins had one more run in them.
A pair of Oregon St. turnovers on in-bounds plays in back court contributed to it, and so did both Nelson and Brandt missing both of a pair of free throws, but regardless, D. Wear's free throws with 54 seconds left capped a 12-2 run that pulled UCLA within 1 point, down only 67-66.
Oregon St. wound the clock down, but Nelson would miss. The defensive play of the game followed though, as Brandt beat a breaking Adams back down the court, and drew a charging foul on Powell with 14.2 seconds left.
"That was about the game winning play," Robinson felt.
Forced to foul, it put Nelson at the line, and this time, he didn't miss, but it opened only a 3 point lead, leaving it a 1 possession margin.
UCLA was out of time outs though, and Robinson had Morris-Walker take the unintentional intentional foul on Anderson before he could launch a 3 pointer with 5.6 seconds left. Anderson made only he second of the 2 free throws though, and forced to foul to stop the clock, Cooke connected on both of his free throws with 5 seconds left to seal the 71-67 win, and elevate his career high total to 20 points.
In addition to Cooke's 20, on 7 of 9 shooting, and Collier's 10 points, 3 other Beavers were in double digits. Nelson's late free throws elevated his finishing line to 12 points, to go with 4 assists and 4 rebounds. Brandt had 13 points, seemingly all at clutch junctures, and Moreland had the only double double of the day, finishing with 11 points and a game high 14 rebounds. It was the 6th time in the last 9 Oregon St. games Moreland had been in double figures on the glass.
Anderson was the only Bruin in double digits, finishing with 18 points. Both Wear twins were held to 7, and B. Alford had 9 off the bench, all on 3 pointers. Anderson also led UCLA on the boards, with 9.
Oregon St. out-rebounded UCLA 39-32, and the Beavers made 8 of 18 3 pointers, compared to 6 of 21 by the Bruins.
The win improved Oregon St. to 13-8 for the season, and 5-4 in the Pac-12, putting them above .500 at the mid-way mark in the conference chase for the first time since 1999.
By completing the weekend sweep of the LA schools, to celebrate the 40th anniversary weekend of the "Ambush on the Oregon Trail", the Beavers pulled into a 5 way tie with Arizona St., Colorado, Stanford, and Washington for 4th place in the conference race, 3 games behind league-leading Arizona.
Despite having won 14 of the last 15 meetings with Oregon St., the loss was UCLA's second in a row in games in Corvallis, and dropped the Bruins to 17-5 for the season, and 6-3 in conference. UCLA dropped into a tie with California for second place in the Pac-12, 2 games behind the Wildcats, though the Bruins do hold the tie breaker over the Golden Bears.
Oregon St. now embarks on a 3 game road swing, starting with a trip to the desert, and a trip to Tempe to take on Arizona St. Thursday night.