No. 21 UCLA rallies late, hangs on to beat Oregon 65-56
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jaylen Clark and Jaime Jaquez Jr. had had enough of losing to Oregon.
The junior and senior had yet to win against the Ducks in their UCLA careers. They finally put an end to their frustrations.
Clark and freshman Amari Bailey scored 14 points each and the 21st-ranked Bruins rallied in the final four minutes for a 65-56 victory Sunday.
“It just came down to the fact, are we going to let another year go by and not beat these guys?” Clark said. “We don’t want to lose to these guys. We don’t want to have to deal with what comes after.”
The Bruins (7-2, 2-0 Pac-12) hadn’t had a big scoring run all game until they pulled away late to end a four-game skid against the Ducks that included getting swept last season.
“It means a lot,” Jaquez said.
Clinging to a one-point lead, UCLA scored eight in a row to make it 63-54. Jaquez scored four points and Bailey had four points as well, capping the run with a two-handed dunk.
“He’s a high-level athlete, a high-level player,” Clark said of Bailey, whom he played against in high school. “You know you’re going to have explosive plays like that dunk at the end. That’s why he’s going to be out of here pretty soon.”
Bailey came up with a flying block of Brennan Rigsby with barely a minute left and Quincy Guerrier missed a 3-pointer for the Ducks (4-5, 1-1).
“He’s got great talent,” Bruins coach Mick Cronin said of Bailey, who shot 7-of-12. “Very rare for a young player to understand shot selection. It shows his basketball IQ. Rarely forces (a shot).”
After Jaquez made a pair of free throws, Guerrier missed another 3-pointer from the right sideline with Jaquez in his face in the closing seconds of the Bruins’ fourth straight victory.
Guerrier led the Ducks with 15 points and Will Richardson added 13 points.
Jaquez, who averages 18 points, finished with 12 points after early foul trouble.
David Singleton hit a 3-pointer to put the Bruins ahead 49-47 before Rivaldo Soares scored to tie it. From there, the teams went back and forth. The Ducks got within one on a pair of free throws by Lok Wur.
Trailing by six, the Ducks ran off nine straight points to regain the lead, 47-44. Guerrier hit a 3-pointer and another basket and Richardson chipped in a basket as part of the spurt.
After being limited to six minutes, Jaquez returned to start the second half and showed why the Bruins missed him while in foul trouble. He keyed a 12-4 run that gave UCLA its first lead, 33-31, since early in the game. Jaquez scored, then stole the ball in a play capped by Bailey’s one-handed dunk.
“I knew I was going to try to make some plays and make something happen,” Jaquez said.
The Ducks led 27-21 at the break after holding the Bruins to a season-low in first-half points.
“Jaime had the right statement at halftime to the team,” Cronin said. “He said we can’t worry about our offense. We got to keep on playing defense.”
Oregon: The Ducks lost to ranked Houston, UConn and Michigan State and now face lesser non-conference opponents in their next four games before playing rival Oregon State.
UCLA: After winning their first two Pac-12 games to tie Utah atop the league standings, the Bruins return to non-conference play for four straight games. They have tough road contests at Maryland and against Kentucky in Madison Square Garden. Having lost to ranked Illinois and Baylor, they’ll be eager to show how much they’ve improved since mid-November. “We got a lot of young guys,” Cronin said. “We just got to keep pounding nails. It’s the only way to build something.”
Oregon: Hosts Nevada on Saturday.
UCLA: Hosts Denver on Saturday.
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