No. 7 UCLA faces tough road test at rising Oregon
No. 7 UCLA will be out to maintain its place atop the Pac-12 Conference and complete a season sweep of Oregon on Saturday in Eugene, Ore.
UCLA (20-4, 11-2 Pac-12) won its third straight to remain a half-game ahead of Arizona in the league race, routing Oregon State on the road Thursday, 62-47.
The 47 points were the fewest the Bruins allowed any opponent on the season, the result of UCLA holding the Beavers to 16-of-45 shooting from the floor and forcing 18 turnovers.
"I thought we were going to hold them under 40 points, which I feel like is pretty crazy in a college game," guard Jaylen Clark said.
Clark, who contributed to the defensive effort with three steals, leads the Pac-12 in takeaways with 2.7 per game.
"This one is over and done and now we are looking forward to going back down to Eugene," Clark said in his postgame press conference, adding that winning at Oregon is "the biggest goal. That's why we came out here.
"Winning at home, that's easy," he said. "You have your fans. Your fans are going to get you 10 points and pump you up."
The Bruins beat the Ducks at home earlier this season, part of a perfect 13-0 mark for UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. No UCLA team has won at Oregon since January 2019, however, a streak of three consecutive wins for the Ducks over the Bruins at Matthew Knight Court.
Oregon (15-10, 9-5) picked up its fourth consecutive home win on Thursday in a dominant, 78-60 defeat of Southern California.
The Ducks never trailed and built a lead of as many as 18 points less than 12 minutes into the contest.
"That was one of our better efforts" on the season, Oregon coach Dana Altman said in his postgame press conference, evident in the Ducks holding USC to its fourth-lowest scoring total of the campaign.
"We played pretty hard tonight and our depth was good," Altman said.
Depth was indeed a factor, with seven Ducks scoring before halftime and four finishing in double figures for the game: N'Faly Dante with 17 points, Will Richardson with 16, Jermaine Couisnard with 13 and Nate Bittle with 11 in less than 18 minutes.
Richardson also dished nine assists to pace the Ducks offense.
Oregon's NET ranking climbed from No. 53 to No. 50 with Thursday's win, and the Ducks boast three victories over fellow Pac-12 NCAA Tournament hopefuls in the last four games, also beating Utah and Arizona State to go with the defeat of USC.
A win Saturday would mark Oregon's second at home against a top 10-ranked league opponent after routing current No. 5 Arizona on Jan. 14, 87-68.
UCLA looks to counter the depth Oregon demonstrated on Thursday with a balanced and deep attack of its own. Five Bruins -- led by Jaime Jaquez Jr.'s 16 points per game -- average in double-figure scoring.
Clark is posting 13.2 points per game, Tyger Campbell is averaging 12.8 to go with his nearly five assists a contest, Amari Bailey is recording 10.6 points per game and David Singleton averages 10.1 points primarily coming off the bench.
--Field Level Media
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