Thursday, January 26, 2006

UCLA 56; Oregon 49

The old adage says that the way to win the Pac 10 is to win all of your home games and split on the road. The Bruins have already lost two home games, so that means to make up for it, they need to sweep at least twice on the road. Mission accomplished in Arizona a few weeks ago. After tonight, the Bruins have a chance to sweep in Oregon.

This is the second time I've actually watched Oregon play this year, and I've come to a conclusion: Oregon is awful. This game would have been very embarrassing were the Bruins to lose. Their streaky shooters, they don't run a very attractive offense, and quite frankly, they look like a Lavin coached team minus the talent. Still, they were able to hang around with the help of about 15 extra seconds on the shot clock, officials who can only see jersey pulls when the jersey is yellow, and an obscure rule that says if you breathe on Ivan Watson, you get whistled. But ultimately, the Bruins began to attack the basket in the late stages of the game, they got to the free throw line, and they pulled out the victory, thanks in no small part to shutting the Ducks down completely in the last ten minutes of the game. Brandon Lincoln hit a three pointer with just under eight minutes to play, and that was the last field goal that the Ducks would make. Their last seven points came from the free throw line. I'd be remiss if I failed to mention that although Ryan Wright and Darren Collison took tiny steps backward, LRMAM continued to show that he is the best freshmen in this class as he contributed 15 points and 10 rebounds (leading the team yet again).

Let's just be fortunate that this one is out of the way and get prepared for Oregon State. Mac Court is a tough place to play, and although they didn't play that well, the Bruins were able to grab the victory. At 6-2, they lead the Pac 10 by a half game over Arizona, and full game over Washington, who lost to Cal. With a win at OSU, they can really take the reins in the conference race.

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