RTC Live: UCLA @ OregonPosted by rtmsf on January 21st, 2012
UCLA and Oregon battle on Saturday to angle itself for a top half finish in the Pac-12 race. The league is so wide open this year that there’s no telling who will actually walk away with this year’s conference title.
Game #69. This year’s race in the Pac-12 has been dynamic, even if it hasn’t been stellar. Preseason conference favorite UCLA has flamed out spectacularly, instead being sixth in the Pac-12 with a 3-3 record so far. Instead, Cal has taken off and is the best team. But sneakily, Oregon has the second highest RPI in the conference and might be able to sneak its way into an at-large bid if it can continue to beat the teams below it in the conference and hold serve at home. Despite the Ducks’ CBI victory last year, they aren’t particularly battle-tested, and they’ll need to hold serve at home against the Pac-12′s most historically dominant program to be able to play deep into March.
Oregon looked dead in the water Saturday afternoon against UCLA, trailing by 13 at halftime at home in Eugene. But Oregon senior guard Garrett Sim came out in the second half and started with a four-point play and another three-pointer back-to-back. By the time the first media timeout rolled around, Oregon had already tied the game back up. Although UCLA stretched out a lead of half a dozen, the Ducks destroyed the Bruins from the free-throw line down the stretch, going 28 for 32 from the charity stripe, including a 16-of-17 performance from junior forward E.J. Singler, leading Oregon to a 75-68 win. UCLA shot 10 for 21 as a team from the free throw line and blew a 10-rebound advantage it had in the first half, as the two teams finished with the same amount of rebounds for the game. In a game that initially looked like it could pop the small amount of momentum Oregon had in going toward the NCAA Tournament, it instead served to make Dana Altman’s team a lot more battle-tested. Meanwhile, UCLA’s incredibly disappointing and tumultuous season continues with an inexcusable loss.