Bryce Alford's shot chart defined this game.
He threw in a shot from behind his head, a contested circus shot, a 30 foot three-point shot, a transition lay up, and a highly contested 10-foot runner. It was a combination of luck, team play, and skill, and the culmination of it all was a big contribution in UCLA's 82-73 victory. Some of that can be attributed to defensive breakdowns from the Beavers, but the fact of the matter is that the Bruins were a machine on Wednesday evening.
OSU seemed to be giving good effort early on, but some tight reffing got Gary Payton II out of the game early after an offensive foul was called on Payton II for shouldering off a guy stepping into him. The team battled without their star player, but the Bruin offense was sharing the ball well and it opened up shots for UCLA.
On the offensive end, the Beavers moved about as quick as a caterpillar. Without Payton on the floor, the offense was stagnant and no one could create their own shot. A Tres Tinkle three-pointer kept the Beavers in the game at 11-17, but the Bruins continued to bomb away.
The star of the first half was UCLA's Isaac Hamilton. He was unconscious and seemingly could not miss. Some of his shots were open, but just as many were contested long jumpers that he still sunk. He helped the Bruins open up a ten point lead at 25-15 with 6:46 left.
GPII would return from his personal foul purgatory at the end of the first half, and he led a small resurgence, helping OSU push back a little bit. The gravity of Payton II in the game was enough to draw away the defense and create easy shots for his teammates.
They were answered with a barrage of Bruin shots, and it resulted in a 40-32 Beaver deficit heading into the locker room.
A four-point play opened the fray for the second half for UCLA and again, OSU was on the back foot. Early on, Tres Tinkle answered with a three and the Beavers were able to start a run.
They strung together just enough stops to get the game within three points on a Drew Eubanks poster dunk, but the Bruins answered it once again with an Aaron Holiday three point shot. That was the story of the game.
OSU created some decent looks, but they could not stop Bryce Alford.
They also gave up free points at the free throw line where they shot a whopping 50 percent.
It led into a deep, dark, and depressing death spiral which ran all the way until the end of the game. Oregon State was pressing for offense, and UCLA was happy to answer by attacking a retreating defense. UCLA pushed it all the way out to an 18 point lead before it was all over.
It was crushing to watch the third straight Beaver loss, especially in a game where GPII was taken out and the opposing team was on fire. Hopefully they can come out and execute against USC on Sunday, but they are running out of time to meet any of the numerous expectations they started the season with.