Oregon stuns UCLA in Pac-12 tourney final
MAR 16, 2013 10:11p ET
Viva, Las Vegas, and did Loyd ever live it up on Saturday night. The Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High School grad, which is also the alma mater of UCLA guard Shabazz Muhammad, found himself right at home in the 702, scoring a season-high 19 points off of the bench and leading the Ducks (26-8) to a 78-69 win over No. 21 UCLA (25-9) in the Pac-12 tournament championship on Saturday night.
Loyd, the Pac-12 tournament MVP, was the most unlikely of heroes and UCLA couldn’t find an answer for him. He entered the game as the team’s seventh leading scorer, averaging just 4.1 points per contest.
In the first meeting between the two schools at new Pauley Pavilion in January, Loyd was held scoreless on 0-of-3 shooting.
After an erratic start by the Ducks and starting point guard Dominic Artis, in particular, it was Loyd who came off of the bench and provided the team with the stability it needed. Artis didn’t score a point and played just 13 minutes on Saturday night.
Upon Loyd’s insertion into the game, it sparked a barrage of Oregon three pointers. The Ducks hit four consecutive shots from beyond the arc, capped by Loyd nailing one from deep on his own to put Oregon in front 18-16 with 10:22 left in the first half. It was a lead they would not relinquish.
“Johnny Loyd played his tail off,” Oregon head coach Dana Altman said.
Loyd along with another reserve Carlos Emory and starting guard Damyean Dotson torched the Bruins from deep combining for 35 first half points and were 7-of-9 from three to lift the Ducks to a 41-32 halftime lead. Dotson finished the game with 20 points off of the bench to lead all scorers.
It was a frustrating first half for the Bruins that saw Ben Howland get hit with a technical foul. Upset about a charge called against Muhammad, he took off his suit jacket and flung it behind the Bruins bench. The jacket was later retrieved, but the technical foul goes down as the first for Howland in his 11 years as UCLA’s head coach.
“I’m very embarrassed by that to lose my composure,” Howland said. “That was really, really poor. I deserved a technical foul.”
The Bruins trailed by as many as 11 points in the second half but unlike the previous two nights there would be no second half heroics. The star of Friday night’s show, Jordan Adams, was stuck at the end of the Bruins bench with his right foot in a boot after breaking it on the last play of the game against Arizona.
The Bruins had five players score in double figures, led by Larry Drew II and Muhammad with 14 apiece. However, no one was able to get hot in the second half anywhere close to the level of Adams the night before.
Depth has been an issue all season long for UCLA since the departures of Tyler Lamb and Joshua Smith. The injury to Adams left the team with a seven-men rotation but more like a rotation of six men when you factor in the fact that Tony Parker hasn’t played more than two minutes in a game the entire month of March with the exception of Saturday night. He played four minutes against the Ducks.
Altman admitted the depth certainly played a factor in favor of the Ducks, especially with Adams being unavailable for UCLA.
There was just no guy that was able to go get a bucket when the Bruins so desperately needed one. UCLA’s most reliable scorers, with the exception of Adams, Muhammad and Travis Were were a combined 9-of-25.
“He’s one of our best players,” Howland said of Adams. “When you lose one of your best players it’s always something you got to try to overcome. We’ll get better at that. We didn’t have any time to prepare. Offensively there’s some things we want to do differently now.”
It showed. The Bruins were out of sorts, at times, offensively and there were possessions it seemed Norman Powell tried to be the shooter for UCLA that Adams is, which doesn’t play into his strength.
The Bruins were in the bonus with 13 minutes to play in the game but that didn’t mean much because even when they got to the free throw line, they couldn’t cash in. The Bruins were 13-of-22 from the foul line, 59 percent.
Of course, the team’s best foul shooter, Adams, was subjected to cheerleader.
Adams and Drew II were selected to the Pac-12 All-tournament team.
The Bruins will now shift their focus to Selection Sunday where a loss in the Pac-12 tournament championship combined with Adams being done for the season could affect their seeding.
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