If No. 1 Arizona’s loss at Cal Saturday night opened the door for UCLA to make a run at the Pac-12 title, the Bruins missed a big opportunity Sunday in losing 71-67 at Oregon State.
Entering the game, UCLA had won consecutive games over Stanford, Cal and (at) Oregon. Its win over the Bears seemingly solidified its status as the second best team in the Pac-12. UCLA had the numbers to back it up, too, ranking second among Pac-12 teams in offensive and defensive efficiency during conference play.
But with the Bruins falling on Sunday and Cal taking down Arizona Saturday night, there doesn’t seem to be a clear-cut, second-best team in the Pac-12. But I’m not sure it really matters right now. Cal and UCLA look like the most likely options, and their performance between now and the postseason -- including a meeting at Haas Pavilion on Feb. 19 -- will determine which team is better.
Oregon State pulled away from UCLA late in the second half with an 18-2 run but allowed the Bruins to claw back within one with under 15 seconds remaining. Then UCLA sophomore Jordan Adams was whistled for a questionable charging violation, and Oregon State made enough free throws to prevail. The Beavers are 4-1 in conference home games.
UCLA loses at Oregon State. Time to stop dissing the Beavers. They've had some good conference wins.
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) February 2, 2014
It was a tough way for UCLA to lose, but it would have been even more crushing for the Beavers, who were seemingly in control with a double digit lead and less than 2 minutes, 30 seconds to play. Freshman guard Hallice Cook scored 14 of his season-high 20 points in the second half, while forward Eric Moreland chipped in 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Bruins freshman Kyle Anderson had 18 points and nine assists, but UCLA shot 38.6 percent from the field, 28.6 percent from three-point range and scored 0.94 points per possession -- well below the Bruins' average in conference play (1.085). UCLA’s upcoming schedule isn’t difficult. It plays at crosstown rival USC on Saturday, followed by home meetings with Colorado and Utah the following week. Then the Bruins travel to Cal.
Sunday’s loss might wind up hurting UCLA’s NCAA Tournament seeding, and that fuzzy “second-best Pac-12 team” thing remains undecided. The latter isn’t as important as whether the Bruins can play well over their next three games in preparation for their second meeting with Cal. UCLA could be the second best team in the Pac-12, but Sunday’s result -- or Cal’s win on Saturday -- didn’t prove that it’s not.
There is a month of regular season left to sort it out.
Brogdon sinks Pitt at the buzzer
Virginia guard London Perrantes dribbled across halfcourt as the clock ticked down on the Cavaliers’ game Sunday at Pittsburgh. Joe Harris barreled around a screen near the top of the key, but Perrantes delivered a pass to Malcolm Brogdon, who trailed Harris. The sophomore received Perrantes’ dish, rose up and drilled a three to beat the Panthers, 48-45.
The Cavaliers have won five games in a row since falling at Duke on Jan. 13 and sit just a half game behind first-place No. 2 Syracuse in the ACC standings. Virginia hosts the Orange on March 1.
Bader makes history
Oakland guard Travis Bader broke former Duke guard J.J. Redick’s career three-point record in a loss Sunday at Milwaukee. Bader surpassed Redick’s previous mark of 457 with 6 minutes, 17 seconds left in the first half and finished the game at 461.
"You've got a guy sitting in the room that's the greatest of all-time at something," Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. "And we're not talking about flipping a tiddlywink or something like that. This game's been played for a long, long time and he's the best ever. And, he's still got seven, eight games left." Bader has shot 40 percent on the 1,132 threes he’s attempted over his three-plus years with the Golden Grizzlies.