UCLA rallied from 11 points down in the second half to take a hotly contested 5 point, 74-69 win over Oregon St. Sunday night.
It was Senior night in Westwood for the Wear twins, Travis and David, and the Bruins were also looking to rebound after a 4 point, 87-83 double overtime loss to Oregon Thursday night, as well as a 71-67 loss at Gill in the season's first meeting with the Beavers.
Angus Brandt had Oregon St.'s first 7 points, in a competitive contest that was a 1 possession game with one brief exception for the first 15 minutes. Brandt would however score only 1 more basket the rest of the evening.
The Beavers did suffer 7 turnovers in the first 10 minutes, and the 10 Bruin points that resulted resulted in a 19-14 UCLA lead.
Oregon St. answered with a 14-4 run to take a 28-23 lead with just under 5 minutes left in the first half. It was the Beavers' first 2 possession lead of the game.
Roberto Nelson reached double figures well before the break, his 32nd consecutive conference game in double digits, and after UCLA dropped out of man defense into zone, the Beavers closed out the first half with a 16-6 run to take a 38-29 lead to the locker room.
Langston Morris-Walker's layup to open the second half opened the first of two 11 point Oregon St. leads, but UCLA responded with a 16-4 run to take a 47-46 lead 6 minutes into the second half, and the Bruins would never be headed after that.
Oregon St, stayed close though, as Nelson tied it again with 12:41 to go, subsequently pulled the Beavers within 2 with a pair of free throws, and then back within 1, down just 54-53 with just over 8 minutes left.
But UCLA continued to maintain a narrow lead as the game entered the final 4 minutes.
It got away from Oregon St. after an Eric Moreland made the first of a pair of free throws to make it 63-58 with 3:55 to go.
Moreland then missed 3 free throws in a row, and Oregon St. went 5 possessions without scoring.
Oregon St.'s defense and rebounding kept them in it, though their opportunity to retake control was slipping away.
It wasn't until there was only 1:13 left when Bryce Alford hit a pair of free throws to make it a 3 possession Bruin lead for the first time. Alford, who had 31 points against Oregon, was held to 6 tonight, but 4 of them came in the decisive run of made free throws that would ensue.
The Beavers continued to battle, as a Nelson 3 and a 2 + 1 by Devon Collier pulled Oregon St. within 5 points with 43 seconds left, and a 3 by Morris-Walker made it a 5 point game again with 15.5 seconds left.
But UCLA made 11 of 12 free throws in a minute down the stretch to keep Oregon St. at arm's length, and claim the 5 point win that improved the Bruins to 22-7, and 11-5 in the Pac-12, in second place with 1 weekend to go in the conference campaign.
Nelson finished with a game high 22 points, but Collier was the only other Beaver in double digits, with 15 points.
Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson, UCLA's 2 leading scorers, who both missed the Oregon game, serving a 1 game suspension for violating team rules, were the 2 Bruins in double digits in this one, with 24 and 14 points, respectively.
Adams had 4 points in the decisive final minute, and also had a personal 5-0 run after Nelson had made it a 1 point game with 8 minutes to go to regain control for the Bruins.
Moreland had a game high 13 rebounds, but only 6 points. Moreland also had 3 blocked shots, but also a couple of others that resulted in goal-tending calls.
The stat of the game was the 16 turnover Oregon St. committed, against only 6 by UCLA, which resulted in the Bruins having a 20-5 edge in points off turnovers.
That and the 5 possession scoring drought late in the game will haunt Oregon St., who could have had the win despite UCLA making 21 of 23 free throws. Credit the Bruins for causing the Beavers' miscues though, and for rallying from down double digits.
An Oregon St. win would have yielded their first sweep of LA since 1988, and what would have been only the 5th ever season sweep of both LA schools.
Instead, the Beavers dropped to 15-13, and 7-9 in the Pac-12, missing a chance to be at .500 this late in the season for the first time since early in the 90s, and head home to face the Arizona schools in the regular season ending series.
The final home stand will start Wednesday night, with a visit from regular season champion Arizona (27-2, 14-2), after the Wildcats locked up first place with a 79-66 win over Stanford this evening.