UCLA beats Oregon in Pac-12 semifinals; Adem Bona is injured

Adem Bona sprawled on the court docket, utilizing each inch of his huge wingspan to chase a unfastened ball. His speedy grimace and clutching of his left shoulder whereas he remained down led to wincing from a complete fan base.

UCLA couldn’t take up one other severe harm.

Already down their finest defender, the Bruins misplaced one other starter early within the second half Friday evening at T-Mobile Arena when Bona stayed down for a prolonged stretch earlier than getting up and strolling slowly to the locker room.

The absence of Bona alongside Jaylen Clark, who was out due to a lower-leg harm, briefly left UCLA with a lineup that nobody might have envisioned within the second half of its Pac-12 match semifinal towards Oregon.

Starting level guard Tyger Campbell discovered himself on the court docket with reserves Abramo Canka, Dylan Andrews, Will McClendon and Kenneth Nwuba. No matter. For just a few breathless minutes, Campbell was all his crew wanted.

Campbell took over with an array of strikes, inflicting the decibel degree inside the sector to rise with every one.

There was a protracted jumper he banked in from the highest of the important thing.

A crossover dribble adopted by a jumper.

A 3-pointer.

Another jumper that pressured the Ducks to name a timeout as Oregon coach Dana Altman scrunched his face in disgust.

For possibly the primary time all season, Campbell was within the full “Steph mode” that coach Mick Cronin had lengthy prescribed. Campbell’s scorching streak carried the second-ranked and top-seeded Bruins to a 75-56 runaway victory over the fourth-seeded Ducks.

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“It was like poetry,” UCLA guard David Singleton stated of Campbell, who scored 11 factors in lower than 5 minutes earlier than ending with 20 of his career-high 28 factors within the second half. “It was amazing.”

Bona returned to the bench to cheer on his crew to its twelfth consecutive victory, smiling and celebrating because the Bruins closed the sport with a 29-13 run. He had 4 factors, 4 rebounds and two blocks in 18 minutes.

Bona’s standing for the championship sport towards Arizona on Saturday was not instantly recognized. Arizona defeated Arizona State 78-59 within the different semifinal.

“I have no idea,” Cronin stated. “He looks good in the locker room.”

Forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. had 18 factors and 10 rebounds and Singleton scored 12 factors for the Bruins (29-4), who remodeled a three-point lead right into a double-digit cushion due to Campbell’s barrage of factors that largely got here off midrange jumpers in pick-and-roll conditions.

“I was really just trying to make anything happen,” stated Campbell, who had been requested earlier than the season to grow to be extra of a high-volume shooter a la the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry. “I believe in myself as a player and any shot I take I feel like it’s going to go in, and they just went in today.”

Guard Will Richardson scored 10 factors for the Ducks (19-14), who may need misplaced their final likelihood at securing an NCAA match bid.

Oregon couldn’t maintain the 22-13 rebounding edge it constructed within the first half, outrebounding the Bruins by just one after halftime even with Bona sitting out the ultimate 16 minutes.

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“They’re bigger than us at every position,” Cronin stated. “But it’s not how big you are. It’s how tough you are.”

Symbolizing the way in which his crew got here collectively, Nwuba made two enormous blocks to spark the late surge after Bona departed. The backup heart stunned even himself provided that he had spent the final month coping with soreness in his hip. He stated he’s now about 95% recovered.

“Getting those two blocks today made me feel very awoke,” Nwuba stated, “like, oh, yes, I’m back, I can go get it.”

UCLA’s Adem Bona gestures for assist from trainers after he was damage diving for a unfastened ball towards Oregon. His standing for the title sport Saturday was not instantly recognized.

(Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

UCLA was actually cursing itself at halftime, backup heart Mac Etienne uttering profanity on his manner off the court docket after lacking a gimme on the rim within the ultimate second of the primary half off an excellent move from Campbell in transition.

The Bruins’ 32-30 lead at that time got here courtesy of tight protection and a pleasant go off the bench from Andrews.

The freshman guard adopted a floater with a jumper earlier than throwing an ideal lob to Bona for a monstrous dunk.

It was simply one other step-up efficiency from a participant who had resided largely within the shadows.

“They practice hard, we prepare ‘em for a reason, we try to tell ‘em their moment’s going to come,” Cronin stated.

“We tell ‘em all year, ‘Your moment’s going to come in March and we’re going to need you.’ ”

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Depending on Bona’s shoulder, they could want much more Saturday.