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BC-BKC--Oregon-UCLA,1st Ld-Writethru

February 24, 2019
AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jaylen Hands nearly couldn’t miss. He stopped and popped 3-pointers from all over, repeatedly burning Oregon’s defense.

Hands scored all of his 27 points in the second half when he led a 19-point comeback to help UCLA win 90-83 on Saturday night.

Kris Wilkes added 20 points and Jules Bernard had a career-high 20 for the Bruins (15-13, 8-7 Pac-12), who outscored the Ducks 62-39 over the final 20 minutes.

“If we can figure out how to tie a ribbon around the second half as we move forward we’re a good basketball team,” interim Bruins coach Murry Bartow said. “We made a lot of plays in the second half. Defensively, we were much, much better.”

UCLA completed a season sweep of the Ducks, having stunned them 87-84 in overtime last month when the Bruins rallied from a nine-point deficit with less than 58 seconds left in regulation on the road.

This time, the Bruins got going much earlier.

Payton Pritchard’s 3-pointer opened the second half and pushed Oregon’s lead to 19 points.

“When we went up there we were down by a lot. We knew to keep fighting,” Wilkes said. “We ultimately had to get some energy. Hands got everybody hyped. Our defense stepped up, too.”

The Ducks led 53-38 when the Bruins took over.

They ran off 17 straight points, including three consecutive 3-pointers by Hands, to take their first lead of the game, 55-53. Hands added a pair of free throws and a fast-break layup during the spurt.

“It seemed like he couldn’t miss, especially on that shot that was from almost half-court,” said Oregon’s Paul White, who had 18 points.

Hands wasn’t done yet.

He hit another 3-pointer and Wilkes followed with one of his own, raising the noise level in Pauley Pavilion considerably thanks to the season’s third-largest crowd of 10,588.

“The energy in the building took over and really helped our guys,” Bartow said.

Bernard said, “Even our coach was a little crazy on the sidelines.”

The Ducks tied the game at 62-all on two free throws by Kenny Wooten, but they never led again.

Louis King’s 3-pointer drew the Ducks to 68-65 before UCLA closed the game on a 24-18 run.

“We scored 83 points, that should be enough,” Ducks coach Dana Altman said, “but you can’t give up 62 points in the second half.”

Pritchard added 18 points for Oregon (15-12, 6-8).

“This is a tough loss,” White said. “This will test our character.”

UCLA hit 14 pointers in the game, led by Hands with seven. Wilkes had four.

The Ducks raced to a nine-point lead 2 ½ minutes into the game. UCLA fought back to tie it three times before Oregon closed out the half on a 24-8 run. The Ducks hit four of their eight first-half 3-pointers during the spurt that gave them a 44-28 lead.

BIG PICTURE

Oregon: The Ducks’ third straight loss sets them up for a tough closing stretch. They host second-place Arizona State next week and travel to first-place Washington to end the regular season. They’re 9-9 since standout freshman Bol Bol was lost to injury for the season in December.

UCLA: The Bruins have won two in a row and need a strong finish to build momentum going into the Pac-12 tourney, where their hopes rest for an NCAA Tournament bid.

BIG NUMBERS

The Ducks shot 63 percent from the field in the first half, the highest percentage by a UCLA opponent in the first half this season. The Bruins’ 62 points were their most in a half this season.

UP NEXT

Oregon: Hosts Arizona State on Thursday.

UCLA: Hosts rival Southern California on Thursday in the Bruins’ last regular-season home game.

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