Friday, 19 January 2018 15:24

Beavers Handle Bruins, 69-63

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Holiday A Cal 022516Oregon State (11-7, 3-3) came out of the box playing tough defense that propelled the Beavers to a hard-fought 69-63 victory over UCLA (13-6, 4-3).

For the second consecutive game, the Bruins couldn’t hit their shots hitting only 37.9 percent from the field and 30.4 percent from beyond the three-point arc.

Two phases of the game hurt the Bruins. One, they gave up too many offensive rebounds, the Beavers were able to grab 18 opposed to UCLA’s 11 that helped Oregon State to outscore the Bruins 33-22 in the paint. Second, UCLA allowed the Beavers to close both halves very strong and in the end, it was too much for the Bruins to overcome.

“I loved how we competed,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said. “I thought we did that for 40 minutes, we just didn’t finish either half. We got beat the last three minutes of the first half 11-4. We got beat the last three minutes of the second half 10-5 and that’s the difference in the game.

“If there was a weakness it was defensively, we were really good tonight, we just didn’t rebound. The last couple of games here that’s become an issue.

“Hadn’t been an issue all year, now all of a sudden our board play has reared its head on us for a couple of games in a row. But other than that it was really closing out both halves. You can’t lose the end of both halves in a tight game on the road.”

The Bruins only had two players score in double figures against the Beavers. Aaron Holiday led the Bruins in scoring with 22 points. He was an outstanding 11-12 from the free throw line. The Bruins only had one other player get to the line and that was Chris Smith who was 1-2 and ended up with nine points.

Thomas Welsh had another double-double scoring 10 points and grabbing 13 boards. Kris Wilkes had a team-high five assists and added nine points.

It’s back to the drawing board for Alford and his UCLA team. The Pac-12 Conference is deep, and the cliche of any team can beat any other team on any given night is very true for the season of 2017-18.

“We have to get tough and get the next one,” Alford said. “We got a tough one coming up against Oregon. The margin of error is very fine.

“A lot of guys are going through this for the first time so we just have to continue to be positive, continue to be upbeat and continue to encourage them.

“Show them some things on film that they need to work on and hopefully keep getting better.”

The Bruins will head up the road to Eugene where the Oregon Ducks (12-7, 2-4) wait, after dropping one to USC 75-70, for a 7:15 PM PST tipoff in Matthew Knight Arena. The game will be televised on ESPN and will be broadcast on your local Los Angeles radio dial AM 1150.

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