MBB Recap: Ducks falter late in 19-point loss to UCLA Bruins

For the second straight year, it appears that the Oregon Ducks will not get an invite to the big dance.

After their loss to the UCLA Bruins in the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament, Oregon assured that it would be another trip to the NIT rather than a spot in the NCAA Tournament. For about 30 minutes of game time, it appeared that the Ducks had a chance to upset UCLA and potentially get into the Pac-12 title game, but in the end, the Bruins were too talented to hold down.

Jaime Jaquez and Tyger Campbell led the way for UCLA, blowing the game wide open late in the second half and taking the life out of the Ducks. It was a frustrating way for the game to end, and it caps off an extremely frustrating year. Here’s how it all went down.

Final Score: UCLA 75, Oregon 56

Mar 10, 2023; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UCLA Bruins forward Adem Bona (3) defends against a shot attempt by Oregon Ducks center N’Faly Dante (1) during the first half at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Keys to the Game

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

  • The Ducks worked hard early on to establish N’Faly Dante in the paint, which was a good test for everyone to see how he could move on that injured ankle. However, Dante was 0-for-4 to start the game. The Ducks also got a great early burst from Will Richardson, who had 5 early points.

  • The Ducks’ defense was incredibly impressive early on, getting 2 steals, 2 blocks, and multiple tipped passes in the early going as Oregon jumped out to a 12-10 lead.

  • UCLA found their offense and built a small lead, but the Ducks did a great job of answering. It was Kel’el Ware who stepped up once Dante went out with a pair of fouls. Ware got a couple of fadeaway jump shots to fall and had a big rebound dunk as well. With 3:06 left, the game was tied at 24-24. After some back-and-forth play, the Bruins took a 32-30 lead into the break.

  • UCLA came out firing in the second half, and Oregon struggled to keep up. The Bruins managed to build a 44-36 lead early on in the half. With about 16 minutes left, UCLA’s Adem Bona went down with a shoulder injury that would take him out of the game, removing the Bruins’ best big-man. The Ducks went on a quick 5-0 run after the injury to make it a 44-41 game.

  • The Bruins bounced back quickly, and a 7-0 Tyger Campbell run gave UCLA an 11-point lead, 57-46 with just under 8 to play. The Ducks briefly cut the lead to 7, but UCLA quickly pushed the lead up to 13 with 4:30 to play.

  • Once UCLA tasted blood, it was over. They eventually built an 18-point lead and were able to cruise to a victory.

Players of the Game

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

N’Faly Dante: 8 points, 10 rebounds

Kel’el Ware: 10 points, 5 rebounds

Will Richardson: 10 points, 8 rebounds

Quincy Guerrier: 10 points, 3 rebounds

Stats to Know

  • The Ducks led the rebounding battle 22-13 in the first half, while getting 14 bench points to UCLA’s 4.

  • Oregon was 1-for-8 from 3FG in the first half, while N’Faly Dnate was 0-for-4 with 2 fouls.

  • The Ducks finished the game shooting 3-for-19 (16%) from deep.

  • UCLA’s Tyger Campbell had a career-high 28 points.

What's Next?

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA Tournament hopes are officially dead for the Ducks. They will find out on Sunday night who they face in the NIT, and whether or not they host a game or not.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire