After coming off a strong victory over the USC Trojans on Thursday, the Ducks will face off against UCLA on Saturday, January 24th. This Pac-12 conference battle will feature Oregon’s strong offense as shown by their averaging roughly 76.6 points per game and shooting 44.4 percent from the field. On the defensive side of the ball, the Ducks have been allowing opponents an average of 71.1 points per game while shooting around 40.2 percent. At the end of the day, however, the most pivotal statistic heading into this game is that Oregon has a better season record at 13-6 while the Bruins are 11-8. With that in mind, both teams are dead even at 3-3 against teams in the Pac-12.
Although UCLA has not won a road game this season, they have proven that they possess the ability to cut blowout leads and inch their team close to a victory. In the last game against Oregon State for instance, the Bruins were able to whittle down a 17-point lead in the second half until the Beavers had only a four point lead. But, UCLA failed to deliver the knockout punch.
One of the most important players for the Bruins this season is their starting junior center Tony Parker, who didn’t even participate in the exhibition game against the Beavers, and was replaced by 7-foot freshman center Thomas Welsh. It has been reported that Parker has been suffering back-spasms and is currently considered day-to-day. Even though it hasn’t been confirmed that Parker will not play on Saturday, it’s expected that Welsh will be his replacement.
Throughout this season, Oregon has been led by their star redshirt senior Joseph Young who has been scoring 19.4 points per game. On top of that, both freshman Dillon Brooks and redshirt junior Elgin Cook have been scoring in double figures with 13.4 and 11.9 points per game respectively. There’s no doubt that these three Ducks will be leading the flock against the Bruins in terms of scoring.
Another notable player that UCLA should be cognizant of is freshman Jordan Bell who has been accumulating blocks on an historic level. Bell is a true X-factor going into this match-up and the fighting Ducks will surely need him as his monstrous blocks have saved Oregon from allowing opponents to score against them. All in all, Oregon has been “saved by the Bell” throughout this season.
Top Photo by John Sperry