LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nothing was going right for UCLA when the Bruins trailed by 19 points in the first half. They were forced to call time out after Oregon scored 14 points in 5 minutes to start the second half.
Suddenly, the team with one of the nation’s most explosive offenses started playing defense.
Aaron Holiday gave UCLA its first lead on a 3-pointer with 4 minutes remaining in the game and the 10th-ranked Bruins rallied from a 19-point first-half deficit to beat No. 5 Oregon 82-79 on Thursday night.
“We know we can score with all the teams in the country so it’s just about being tough on the defensive end,” Holiday said.
Holiday and star freshman Lonzo Ball scored 15 points each, combining to score UCLA’s final seven points. Ball had 11 rebounds to help his team control the boards, 43-35. The Bruins (22-3, 9-3 Pac-12) moved into a third-place tie with idle California in the league standings.
“When you’re down 19, you got to have help and our guys did a great job helping each other,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said.
Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey scored 19 points each for the second-place Ducks (21-4, 10-2). Dorsey missed a potential tying 3-pointer with 23 seconds left.
“We just have to let this one go,” Dorsey said. “We got the lead and we got too confident. After that, we really didn’t get that many good shots.”
The Bruins closed with a furious rush, battling for rebounds after not getting back to defend early in the game. Holiday’s go-ahead basket was part of a 33-15 run to end the game.
“The second half we guarded a lot better,” Ball said. “I’m glad our team came together.”
Two free throws by Jordan Bell got the Ducks to 80-79 with 19 seconds to go. Holiday got fouled and made both to preserve the win before Payton Pritchard’s 3-pointer missed with 1 second left.
The Bruins made two runs in the first half that twice got them within five points after trailing by 19. But the Ducks quickly extended their lead to 15 points early in the second half when Brooks hit three 3-pointers and Dorsey added another.
“We were ahead in all categories that we were supposed to be in the first half, but the second half it was different,” Ducks coach Dana Altman said. “It’s like at the 10-minute mark we were stuck in mud.”
Before Holiday’s go-ahead 3, he split two Oregon defenders and made an off-balance layup, getting fouled and making the free throw.
Pritchard made a 3-pointer that drew the Ducks within two before Ball hit a 3-pointer and coolly shook his right hand.
“I knew time was winding down. That’s one of my favorite shots,” said Ball, widely expected to leave for the NBA at season’s end. “I don’t get nervous. It’s something I’ve been working for my whole life.”
Oregon: Starting with UCLA, the Ducks play five of their final seven regular-season games on the road. The Bruins were the second of three straight 20-win teams the Ducks play in eight days.
UCLA: The Bruins play five of their final seven games at home, where their only loss has been to Arizona.
Hall of Famers Magic Johnson and Tommy Lasorda were on hand. ... It was the third meeting between Oregon and UCLA as top 10 ranked opponents. The Bruins have won all three, including in 1975 and 2007. ... Both teams shot 50 percent and were even on the boards in the first half. ... A female member of UCLA’s spirit squad fell while being lifted near the end of a routine during a timeout in the second half. She was carried off by a male staff member who was running and tripped near the edge of the court, dropping her to the hardwood again, drawing an audible gasp from the crowd. She eventually got up and walked off smiling on her own.
UCLA honored broadcaster Dick Enberg at halftime. From 1966-75, he called eight of the school’s national championship seasons under coach John Wooden. Former Bruin stars Bill Walton and Jamaal Wilkes presented him with a No. 8 jersey at halftime.
“That’s not going to happen again,” Enberg said before the game. “Who was looking over me? To be able to come in and ride the Wooden Wave.”
The 82-year-old announcer retired in October after a 60-year career that included working the Final Four, Olympics, Super Bowl, Wimbledon, Masters and U.S. Open while uttering countless calls of “Oh my!” in describing a play that nearly defied description.
Wearing UCLA’s colors with a blue tie and gold pocket square, Enberg said his career highlight was calling the Bruins’ game against Houston at the Astrodome in 1968. It was the first non-playoff college or NBA game shown in prime time.
He described the game as being “the rocket ship” that popularized college basketball.
The media room at Pauley Pavilion will be named in his honor.
Oregon: Visits Southern California on Saturday.
UCLA: Hosts last-place Oregon State on Sunday.
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