Oregon forward Arsalan Kazemi tries to get off a shot over UCLA guard Larry… (Reed Saxon / Associated…)
UCLA's Travis Wear didn't mince words after a 76-67 loss to Oregon on Saturday.
"We hate this feeling," he said.
So much can change on one game.
The No. 24 Bruins took a 10-game winning streak into Saturday's game. They left knowing that Oregon is tougher.
The lights went out at Pauley Pavilion six seconds into the game. The best chance for the Bruins would have been if a couple Oregon players had mysteriously vanished in the darkness.
Instead, Tony Woods, Oregon's 6-foot-11 center, made eight of nine shots and scored 18 points. Arsalan Kazemi, a muscular, 6-7 transfer picked up from Rice in September, had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The No. 21 Ducks exposed what UCLA Coach Ben Howland called "our Achilles heel," out-rebounding the Bruins, 40-31. Oregon had 13 offensive rebounds.
"They scored on a number of them," Howland said.
This was not the send-off party the Bruins needed heading into games at No. 7 Arizona and Arizona State this week. The only bright spot for the Bruins on Saturday was the knowledge they won't have to face the Ducks (16-2 overall, 5-0 in the Pac-12) again during the regular season.
"I thought they were really tough and very scrappy," Howland said.
As for his own team, Howland said, "what concerns us the most is rebounding."
The coming trip is not one to ease Howland's mind. Oregon is second in rebound margin among Pac-12 teams. Arizona leads the conference.
"This is going to take true character to come back with two decent wins," Bruins guard Norman Powell said.
Everyone, from UCLA players to the national television audience, could see what was required.
"We are a small team, but it is all about toughness when playing basketball," Powell said.
The Bruins (15-4, 5-1) couldn't compensate Saturday.
Things didn't start well. Freshman Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA's leading scorer, was held out for the first five minutes after being late to Friday's practice. It was a series of unfortunate events, Howland said.
"He had class at 9 a.m., he had his car towed and had to go run his car down after parking in the wrong spot," Howland said. "He was tired. He was asleep. It's no big deal."
Muhammad did provide some first-half traction, scoring 10 of UCLA's last 12 points. Still, though the Bruins shot 55% and Oregon 38%, UCLA's halftime lead was only 40-37.
The reason why could be seen on an early Oregon possession. The Ducks got four offensive rebounds.
"We had two guys standing at midcourt waiting for the ball," Howland said.
Howland added, "That's my fault. We obviously haven't done a good job of teaching how to block out."
Some things can't be taught.
Woods and Kazemi showed skill in the low post. The Bruins rely on double teams down low and "we forgot a couple times," Howland said.
The Ducks had 38 points in the paint, the Bruins 24.
"We're a jump-shot team," Howland said. "That's what we do."
Jordan Adams missed all six of his field-goal attempts. Muhammad was 0 for 4 in a scoreless second half. UCLA shot 38% after halftime.
The score was tied, 46-46, with 14 minutes left. Woods scored six of Oregon's next 10 points and UCLA never led again. Kazemi turned three offensive rebounds into baskets in the last 10 minutes, the last giving Oregon a 64-61 lead with three minutes left.
"We have to box out and seek the ball rather than box out and hope someone else gets it," Wear said. "It's an effort thing."