With 2:35 remaining in the game on Thursday night, Oregon found itself up 72-59 after Louis King knocked down a corner three-pointer. After controlling much of the game up to that point, it appeared the Ducks would finish on cruise control en route to their first Pac-12 win of the season.
Not so fast.
UCLA responded with a 21-8 run over the final 2:35, knocking down five three-pointers, to force overtime.
In the extra period, the Ducks found themselves leading again, this time up four with 2:59 remaining. But the Bruins responded with a 7-0 run to close the game, sending the Ducks to 0-2 in conference play following the 87-84 loss.
“No easy way to spin that one, that’s a gut punch,” Oregon head coach Dana Altman said.
King led the Ducks with a season-high 22 points, also grabbing 10 rebounds for consecutive double-doubles in his first major action of the season.
Despite the breakdown, the Ducks (9-6, 0-2 Pac-12) had a great opportunity to secure the win in the end.
Payton Pritchard (four points) sank two free throws, giving Oregon an 80-77 lead with three seconds. Electing to foul rather than give UCLA (10-6, 3-0 Pac-12) another attempt to tie the game late, Altman had his team foul UCLA’s Jaylen Hands.
After hitting the first free throw, Hands intentionally missed the second. After a scramble for the rebound, UCLA’s Chris Smith grabbed the ball and put up a shot that went in, while also being fouled by Pritchard.
Smith went on to miss the free throw, sending the game to overtime tied at 80.
The turnaround in overtime happened with the Ducks up two, 84-82, with two minutes to play. After Oregon forced UCLA’s 23rd turnover of the game, the Ducks quickly got the ball up court. Rather than use of gameclock and work for a good shot, as Altman was yelling from the sideline, Bailey launched a three-pointer just three second into the shot clock. The ball clanked off the front rim, leading to a UCLA rebound who tied the game on the next possession.
Oregon got one more look late in the game when after swinging the ball around, found King open in the corner. His three-pointer hit off the back rim and went out of bounds, ending the demise.
Paul White played well for the Ducks, finishing with 16 points, five rebounds and four steals, giving the Ducks some much needed post scoring. He did most of his damage in the middle of UCLA’s 2-3 zone, often finding the soft spot and having no problem with jumpers from the elbow.
The Bruins were led by Prince Ali and his 22 points, shooting 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. Hands added 16 points and seven assists while Moses Brown had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The first half saw the Ducks play their best brand of basketball maybe all season. Led by great ball movement and active hands on defense, Oregon went on an 18-3 run late in the half to lead 39-28. However, the Bruins responded with the final four points before the break, including a Kris Wilkes (15 points, seven rebounds) three-pointer at the buzzer.
Oregon now has two days to recover from the loss before hosting USC on Sunday night. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m.