EUGENE, Ore. — Into what could have been a night of disaster for UCLA, forwards Trevor Wilson and Charles Rochelin and center Kelvin Butler came through in the end, leading the Bruins to a 76-71 Pacific 10 Conference victory over Oregon Thursday night at McArthur Court.
Wilson, the Bruins' leading scorer coming in, was benched for the first 9:33 of the game for unspecified disciplinary reasons. That void was compounded when Rochelin and Craig Jackson both picked up three fouls less than 10 minutes into the game. The front line, with the exception of Kevin Walker, was MIA in the first half.
Their finish, however, was just as obvious, but for another reason. The score was tied, 63-63, with eight minutes left, but then Wilson hit his final three shots of the game to finish with 15 points, Rochelin had a field goal and two key blocked shots, and Butler had a basket off a Pooh Richardson miss to give UCLA a four-point lead.
"Our defense gave us the win tonight," said Rochelin, who finished with 8 points, 6 rebounds and 6 blocked shots in 28 minutes. "No question."
Still, it took some craziness among the calm to clinch the win. Oregon guard Anthony Taylor, the conference's top scorer at 21.3 points a game and an 84% free-throw shooter this season, went to the line with 17 seconds left and the Ducks trailing, 72-69, and . . . missed both. He had another chance, an even bigger one at that, with nine seconds to play.
When Bruin guard Gerald Madkins fouled Taylor--on a three-point shot--UCLA was ahead by five. If he had made the jumper and the free throw, it would have been just a one-point lead. Instead, his field-goal attempt missed, and Taylor hit the two free throws to make it 74-71.
"I couldn't believe when he (Taylor) missed," UCLA Coach Walt Hazzard said of the free throws.
Taylor scored 26 points, but that was on 7-of-20 shooting from the field.
"He still got 26 points," Hazzard said. "He's a great player. We didn't want him to beat us, and he almost did."
In winning the sixth time in eight games and improving to 10-10 overall and 6-4 in the Pac-10, the Bruins got a team-high 20 points from guard Dave Immel, an Oregon native who was hounded by the home-state fans almost every time he touched the ball in the first half and who went into the seats behind the basket after a loose ball only to be pushed by a spectator.
Immel had the final word. His two free throws with 15 seconds left gave the Bruins a much-needed cushion, 74-71, before Wilson closed the game out with a slam dunk with two seconds left.
"I felt real good," Immel said. "They (the free throws) didn't look good, because they didn't go in clean. But they were good enough."
Trevor Wilson was supposed to sit out the first 10 minutes of the game. He got the 27-second reprieve because of the foul problems at forward. "We had a coaches' meeting for about three seconds," UCLA Coach Walt Hazzard said. "We thought he had been in jail long enough." . . . Guard Pooh Richardson had just two assists, leaving him three shy of tying Ralph Jackson (1981-84) for the career mark at the school. . . . The Bruins shot 61.5% from the field in the second half, led by Wilson (6 of 10) and Charles Rochelin (4 of 5). The Bruins meet Oregon State Sunday in Corvallis, Ore.