Rapid Reaction: UCLA 74, Oregon State 64
January, 17, 2013
By Peter Yoon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
LOS ANGELES -- The No. 24 UCLA Bruins extended their win streak to 10 games and maintained their spot atop the Pac-12 standings with a 74-64 victory over Oregon State on Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion. It is the first 10-game winning streak for the Bruins since 2008-09, and UCLA has won its first five conference games for the first time since 2003-04 -- coach Ben Howland's first season. Here’s a quick rundown:
How it happened: Getting off to a bit of a sluggish start, the Bruins fell behind 12-7 but took control with a 12-2 run that began with about 15 minutes left in the first half and cruised from there.
UCLA (15-3, 5-0) held Oregon State (10-7, 0-4) to only four field goals in the final 15 minutes of the half and took a 37-26 halftime lead. The Bruins opened the second half with a 13-4 run for a 50-30 lead and led 65-48 with eight minutes to play. Oregon State did not get closer than 10 points for the rest of the game.
Shabazz Muhammad rebounded from a poor two-game road trip last week to lead UCLA with 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Travis Wear continued his solid play, and finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, reaching double figures in scoring for the sixth consecutive game. Kyle Anderson had 17 points and nine rebounds, barely missing out on his sixth double-double of the season.
Player of the game: Muhammad scored 13 of his 21 points in the second half, in which he made five of six shots. It was a marked turnaround for UCLA's leading scorer, who averaged 10 points and made only nine of 29 shots in two games at Utah and Colorado last week. He was headed for another subpar performance Thursday with just eight points on 3-of-8 shooting in the first half but turned it on in the second half and recorded his seventh 20-point game of the season.
Stat of the game: Larry Drew II had nine assists and three turnovers. This marks the fifth time in the past six home games that he has reached nine assists with three or fewer turnovers.
What it means: The Bruins taking care of business at home against one of the lower-tier teams in the conference doesn't mean all that much in the grand scheme of things, but to do it with an important showdown with Oregon looming Saturday shows a level of maturity. Oregon and UCLA are two of the front-runners in the conference right now; it would have been easy to get caught looking ahead, so staying focused on the task at hand is a good sign for a young team.
What’s next: UCLA faces No. 21 Oregon on Saturday at 1 p.m. PT at Pauley Pavilion. It will be the first game between two ranked Pac-12 teams since March 13, 2009.