Pac-12 Tournament semis takeaways: UCLA blows out Oregon, loses Adem Bona

Note: Bryan Fischer is sharing takeaways on the motion all through the Pac-12 Tournament. 


LAS VEGAS — This was alleged to be a particular time for UCLA basketball, one the place a title-winning common season fueled a run throughout the one month that mattered for the game’s preeminent blueblood.

Instead, March has became rather more of a nightmare for Mick Cronin’s workforce because the Bruins’ hopes of successful the nationwide title for the primary time since 1995 have now suffered two crucial blows in lower than every week.

The newest got here on Friday night time at T-Mobile Arena within the Pac-12 Tournament semifinal in opposition to fourth-seeded Oregon, an eventual 75-56 win that proved to be probably crippling to this system’s long-term aim of chopping down the nets in Houston 4 weeks from now.

Just six days after seeing convention defensive participant of the 12 months Jaylen Clark go down with what was reportedly a season-ending leg damage on Senior Day at Pauley Pavilion, UCLA watched because the league’s freshman of the 12 months Adem Bona crumpled to the court docket with a left shoulder damage after diving for a unfastened ball with 16:14 left.

Ducks coach Dana Altman was so involved at seeing the play unfold at his ft that he instantly waved over trainers, inflicting a ripple of misery to shoot via the remainder of the UCLA bench for the Nigerian ahead who had appeared terrific on each ends of the court docket.

Bona, who completed with 4 factors and 4 rebounds in 18 minutes, was ably changed by Kenneth Nwuba and Mac Etienne to shut out the victory, however neither have the form of athleticism within the low publish that might show key within the NCAA Tournament.

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“We’ve got guys on scholarship for a reason. They practice hard and we prepare them for a reason,” Cronin mentioned. “It gets them ready for next week and gets them experience.”

If there was a silver lining for Cronin and firm within the absence of the large man, it got here within the type of the remainder of the starters stepping up their recreation to assist salt it away in opposition to an Oregon aspect that was preventing for a spot within the large dance subsequent week.

“We stepped it up, the guys were awesome,” Cronin mentioned. “Onward we fight.”

Veteran guard Tyger Campbell had a career-high 28 factors, all however eight of which got here within the second half. He was additionally lethal from lengthy vary in pulling down 4 3-pointers whereas dishing six excellent assists. Jaime Jaquez Jr. began gradual, however ended up with 18 factors and 10 rebounds for one more double-double by the Pac-12 Player of the Year.

“He’s our closer,” Jaquez Jr. mentioned of his senior teammate. “He gets us into position to make plays.”

Oregon was not with out their very own damage considerations as large man N’Faly Dante did find yourself beginning after needing to be helped off the ground on Thursday night time in a quarterfinal win over Washington State. He notched eight factors and 10 boards however did not seem as efficient as he had been a lot of the season whereas enjoying 16 minutes. Will Richardson contributed a team-high 10 factors in a high quality effort however it was too little to matter in the long run for a gifted workforce that was frustratingly inconsistent for many of 2023.

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The loss seemingly ends any hopes the Ducks had at reaching the NCAA Tournament after coming into the night time forty fourth within the NCAA NET rankings however dropping to 2-9 in opposition to Quad 1 groups. Still, an NIT bid might show fruitful for Altman to construct towards subsequent season and far increased hopes in Eugene.

The Bruins, in the meantime, stay in competition for one of many 4 No. 1 seeds within the event and a good path to make it again to the Final Four that would come with a regional in the identical constructing they’ve grown accustomed to in Las Vegas.

Those are ideas for an additional time, nevertheless, as Cronin tries to refocus his workforce on the duty at hand on Saturday night time as this system appears to be like to win the convention event for the primary time since 2014.

Bryan Fischer is a university soccer author for FOX Sports. He has been protecting school athletics for practically twenty years at retailers akin to NBC Sports, CBS Sports, Yahoo! Sports and amongst others. Follow him on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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