Oregon Invasion a Turning Point for UCLA

WESTWOOD—Painfully cold for much of a roller-coaster season, Bryce Alford caught fire before the Paulley Pavillion crowd.

Desperately needing a victory to claw their way back into the PAC-12 leaderboard, UCLA defeated Oregon State 75-59 Wednesday night, avenging January’s eleven-point loss to the Beavers in Corvallis.

The victory tied the teams at 7-5 in conference play, four games behind conference leading Arizona and Utah.

The Bruins can make a statement with a home sweep of both Oregon State and Oregon.

In the victory, UCLA followed both steps of their winning formula, hammering Oregon State inside the paint of a home arena in which they boast a 12-1 season record.

The Bruins out-rebounded the visiting team 41-23, benefitting from a 15-point, 10 rebound performance from Tony Parker that set up Alford’s decisive spree of three-point shooting.

“We’re just playing harder and playing tough. We got a lot of good stops,” Parker said. “When we guard like that it’s hard to beat us.”

With Parker’s inside threat established, UCLA pulled away with a lethal series of three consecutive treys from Alford to end the first half. In all, Alford, the son of Bruins head coach Steve Alford, accounted for five of UCLA’s ten three pointers on the evening, establishing a shooting threat that PAC-12 teams will have to account for against a dangerously inconsistent Bruins squad.

With just six games remaining on their regular season schedule, UCLA will look to claw their way up the PAC-12 standings in Saturday’s matchup with third-place Oregon. A victory against the Ducks could go a long way towards erasing memories of an early season collapse that put the Bruins’ NCAA tournament hopes on life support.

“We had to beat a team that was right ahead of us,” Bryce Alford said. “We have to do the same thing on Saturday.”