Men's Basketball Suffers 82-74 Setback at Oregon
EUGENE, Ore. – Despite a career-high 23 points from junior guard Jules Bernard, UCLA suffered an 82-74 loss to Oregon on Wednesday evening at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene.
With the loss, the Bruins fall to 17-7 overall and 13-5 in the Pac-12. The Ducks, who entered Wednesday's contest a half a game behind the Bruins in the league standings, improved to 17-6 overall and 13-4 in conference play.
Bernard, whose previous career high came in a 21-point effort against Pepperdine in November, led all Bruins on the evening, finishing 10 of 16 from the field, including 3 of 5 from behind the arc.
Wednesday's contest was tight throughout, however the Ducks played their best basketball down the stretch, outscoring the Bruins 14-6 in the final 4:06. After redshirt junior forward Cody Riley tied the game on a made layup and subsequent free throw to make it 68-68, Oregon went on a 7-0 run, capped by a three pointer from senior guard Chris Duarte, who finished with a game-high-tying 23 points on 7 of 12 shooting. Duarte was also 8 of 10 from the free-throw line.
"I don't care what the polls say, USC, Colorado and Oregon are top-20 teams," said UCLA head coach Mick Cronin. "Oregon healthy, they are probably seven, eight or nine in the country. It takes a tremendous amount of toughness to beat a team like that and without any seniors on this team, when the game gets to an intensity level on both ends, is when you're going to find out who's going to win. I've done this a lot and I've been in this before and you know why you don't win. They were just a tougher team on both ends."
In addition to Bernard, Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Riley also notched double figures on the evening, finishing with 15 and 11 points, respectively.
"It's extremely tough, but we have a game on Saturday so we just have to keep pushing forward and we kind of just have to leave this behind, learn from it and go forward," added Jaquez Jr. "I'm extremely confident in our team. We made it this far in the season. We still believe in each other no matter what happens, whether we lose or whether we win. We are a really tight group and I have the utmost confidence that we will bounce back from this."
The Bruins, who will close out the regular season with a home game against crosstown rival USC this Saturday (CBS: 1:00 p.m.), are looking to win the Pac-12's regular-season title for the first time since 2013.