LAS VEGAS – UCLA ended the regular season with a thud, losing to a team that had won two of its previous 17 games.
After a few days to rest and reflect, the Bruins took out their frustrations on Oregon.
Playing well at both ends, UCLA turned what was expected to be close game into a rout, using a big second-half run to race past Oregon 82-63 in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament on Thursday night.
“We responded really well tonight coming off the game that we had to end the regular season, and taking a couple days off to clear our minds and kind of get well mentally and physically,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said. “That was really big.”
UCLA (24-8) couldn’t seem to do anything right in its season-ending loss to Washington State, an unexpected bump in the road for a team with solid NCAA tournament credentials.
The Bruins did little wrong in flying past the Ducks, opening the second half with a 16-4 run while keeping Oregon’s shooters locked down.
UCLA shot 57 percent from the floor and made 8 of 16 from 3-point range, while Oregon went 8 for 26 from the arc.
Jordan Adams scored 15 points and Travis Wear and Zach LaVine added 14 points each for UCLA, which will play the Stanfordin Friday’s semifinals.
“We came out in the first half and each team was throwing blows at each other, Oregon came in real hot,” Wear said. “We made some adjustments at halftime to relieve some of their pressure and defensively we just came out and shut them down.”
The Ducks (23-9) had been on quite a run since early February and matched the Bruins in an entertaining first half. Oregon had no answer when the Bruins started to pull away, unable to get shots to fall or stop UCLA from scoring to end an eight-game winning streak.
The Ducks won’t have to worry too much; they should be a lock for the NCAA tournament when Selection Sunday rolls around.
“Sunday we’ll be excited for the selection show then we’ll get ready to play,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “It was a disappointing effort tonight, but we’ll bounce back. Our guys will be ready to go Thursday or Friday.”