Sunday, 21 January 2018 15:20

Bruins Lose Third Straight

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Wilkes K OU012118UCLA (13-7, 4-4) couldn’t shake off a sloppy first-half that saw Oregon (13-7, 3-4) take a commanding lead at the break, 52-38. The Bruins finally found their game but it wasn’t enough to prevent their third loss in a row. The Ducks held on to win, 94-91.

“I told the guys in the second half I love how they competed and worked,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said. “It was just a really out of character first half. We got in foul trouble and were out of rhythm.

“We really haven’t had to play without Aaron [Holiday] very often and we really struggle with that. It’s a big part of what we do and this is the first time we’ve had to handle that.

“The start of the game was nothing like we talked about both offensively and defensively and I’m not sure why. That’s the hard part. We settled down a little bit but after that, we had foul trouble so we were just trying to survive until halftime.

“The second half I thought we were pretty good. They (Oregon) had 14 assists and no turnovers at half. In the second half, they had five assists and eight turnovers and we go 13 assists and four turnovers.

“The second half was much better in terms of the way we like to do things with tempo and how we like to guard. You can’t go on the road and expect to get wins when you only do that for one half.”

The Bruins had five players score in double-figures led by freshman Kris Wilkes tying a career-high 21 points. Thomas Welsh notched his 12th double-double of the season scoring 17 points and coming down with 10 boards. Aaron Holiday added 14, Jaylen Hands chipped in 12 and Prince Ali scored 10.

The Bruins were outscored by the Ducks, 18 to 10 in second-chance points and once again were outrebounded on the offensive glass, 11 for the Ducks to 7 for the Bruins.

There was to enough good stuff in the second-half to think the Bruins are about to get back into the groove and start winning games

“We started getting some defensive stops that got us out running,” Alford said. “We shot the ball well. We came out on the road and scored 91 points and shot 52 percent from the field and got to the free throw line. Board play was about even. I thought we did a lot of good things that way.

“We just dug ourselves such a big hole in the first half that we were almost going to have to be perfect in the last 10 minutes. And we almost were because we played awfully well in the last 10-14 minutes.”

The Bruins return home to play Cal, Thursday, Jan. 25. It will be the first of three games to be held in Pauley Pavilion. The tipoff against Cal is scheduled for 7:30 PM PST and will be televised on Fox Sports 1.

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