The Oregon Ducks (12-7, 2-4) look to split the series against the Los Angeles schools at home on Saturday night against the UCLA Bruins (13-6, 4-3).
Two-straight games the Ducks have come at the wrong end of the scoreboard. Against Arizona and USC, second-half leads could not be held, leaving Oregon disappointed to not come away with wins.
Thursday night, the Ducks went back and forth in the second half against the Trojans. USC made a late push in the final minutes to ensure a 75-70 victory as Oregon’s shots would not fall in their favor at the rim.
Oregon is facing some adversity at the moment after appearing to be trending upward since winning on the road against Arizona State. From these back-to-back losses, the Ducks should find a motivation to buckle down and learn to finish games until the clock hits zero.
The Ducks will expect a physical battle from the Bruins, who also are on a current two-game losing streak. UCLA is coming off a 69-63 loss to Oregon State.
Unfortunately, Big Baller Brand is not making an appearance in Eugene after the incident in China. LiAngelo Ball and two of his UCLA teammates were arrested in China, accused of shoplifting sunglasses from Louis Vuitton.
Ball is no longer on the team and is now playing professionally in Lithuania. For the whole story, be sure to either search Lavar Ball, the father, on YouTube or watch the show on Facebook.
Back now to the current team where the Bruins have gotten off to a shaky start in Pac-12 play. After sweeping the Washington schools, UCLA suffered a close loss on the road to Stanford but rebounded with a win over Cal. Before losing to the Beavers, the Bruins lost at home against Utah.
Despite the controversy at the beginning of the season, UCLA has shown the current squad can compete. Before conference play began, the Bruins recorded an upset win over then-No. 7 Kentucky.
Aaron Holiday is the leading scorer on the Bruins, averaging 19 points per game. Thomas Welsh is also a top performer in scoring but also leads the team in rebounds with about ten per game.
Another close game could be on tap again for Oregon. Payton Pritchard must get assistance from his teammates in getting buckets. Elijah Brown will hope to have his groove back after only scoring nine points last game.
Matthew Knight Arena saw an instant classic last season when the two team met at the beginning of the year. Dillon Brooks hit the game-winning three-pointer over Lonzo Ball, sending the Pit Crew into a frenzy.
For now, Oregon is hoping to avoid a three-game losing streak.
Tipoff begins at 7:15 p.m. with a telecast on ESPN.