No. 3 UCLA seeks rhythm against lowly Oregon State


Third-ranked UCLA is still searching for its flow after enduring a 26-day stretch between games.

Though their COVID-19 issues are behind them, the Bruins seek to rebound from a shaky performance when they face Oregon State on Saturday night in Pac-12 play at Los Angeles.

UCLA (10-2, 2-1 Pac-12) won its first two games in its return to action before falling 84-81 in overtime to visiting Oregon on Thursday night.

“Obviously, we have to learn from our mistakes this game and we’re not done,” Bruins guard Jules Bernard said afterward. “We played poorly.”

The loss snapped UCLA’s five-game winning streak. It also induced a sharp critique from coach Mick Cronin.

“We weren’t prepared. It’s my fault. It’s my job,” Cronin said. “We didn’t play defense, didn’t take care of the ball, didn’t share the ball. Even when we start sharing the ball, all of a sudden we start taking terrible shots.

“What happens in this game is you’re either humble and hungry like (the Ducks) were trying to pull off the so-called upset or you’re arrogant without cause because we’ve won nothing. We’re arrogant without cause.”

The Bruins almost earned a reprieve when they scored six points in less than 20 seconds in the final minute of regulation to force overtime, but Oregon hung on in the extra session.

Just 119 family members of players and coaches were in Pauley Pavilion due to campus COVID-19 regulations.

Oregon State (3-12, 1-4) might be willing to embrace the quiet environment as it stands 8-56 all-time when playing the Bruins in Los Angeles. Four of the victories came during the 1980s.

The Beavers gave No. 5 Southern California a battle on Thursday before succumbing 81-71. Host USC scored the final 11 points to stave off the upset.

Oregon State led by 10 early in the second half and never trailed until 10:33 remaining to play. Warith Alatishe’s putback gave the Beavers a one-point lead with 4:02 remaining before the Trojans took over.

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“They did exactly at halftime what we said they were going to do in the second half,” Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle told reporters afterward. “USC got physical, threw us around, drove right at us and unfortunately we weren’t able to stand toe-to-toe with them the last few minutes as we did over the course of the game.”

Oregon State’s Jarod Lucas established career highs of 27 points and six 3-pointers. It marked Lucas’ fourth 20-point effort of the campaign. All have come in the past five games.

Lucas leads Oregon State in scoring (14.3 points per game) and 3-pointers (39). Alatishe averages 12.3 points and a team-best 6.6 rebounds per game.

The last time these teams met, Alatishe scored a career-best 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Beavers rallied from a 16-point deficit to beat the Bruins 83-79 in overtime in last March’s Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals. That started a stunning run in which Oregon State won the tournament and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament before losing to Houston.

Bernard had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Bruins in that contest. He ranks third in scoring (13.0) behind Johnny Juzang (16.6) and Jaime Jaquez Jr. (13.3). Juzang scored 23 points in the loss to Oregon.

UCLA has won six of the past nine meetings against the Beavers.

–Field Level Media