EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - Oregon’s strategy in the final seconds was simple: Foul before UCLA could get off a tying 3-pointer and then get the ball into Payton Pritchard’s hands.
The Ducks did both to avoid a fourth home loss before their first sellout crowd of the season.
Pritchard scored 25 points, capped by four free throws in the final 6.7 seconds, to help Oregon hold off UCLA for a 94-91 win on Saturday night.
MiKyle McIntosh and Victor Bailey Jr. had 18 points each for the Ducks (13-7, 3-4 Pac-12), who led by as many as 18 points in the second half. Troy Brown added 17 points.
“We needed to find a way to win,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said, “so to hang on, and Payton hitting those free throws late, was really good.”
Aaron Holiday launched a half-court shot at the buzzer that could have forced overtime but bounced off the rim for the Bruins (13-7, 4-4), who lost their third consecutive game. Kris Wilkes led UCLA with 21 points, and Thomas Welch had 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The Bruins trailed 88-77 with 2:55 to play before Wilkes scored five points in a 10-0 run to cut the lead the one with a minute left. Oregon staved off the rally by hitting six straight free throws in the final minute.
The Ducks led 90-87 when a shot-clock violation gave UCLA possession with 12.6 seconds left. Altman had his players foul twice before the Bruins could shoot, and though Alex Olesinski and Holiday hit all four free throws, Pritchard countered both times from the foul line.
UCLA shot 58.1 percent (18 of 31) in the second half, including 8 of 16 from 3-point range.
“Defensively, we didn’t get many stops the second half,” Altman said. “They kind of took it wherever they wanted. Holiday created a lot of opportunities for their guys, and they shot it well.”
Oregon had squandered late leads in each of its last two games. This time, the Ducks made the plays they’d been missing in those losses to Arizona and USC.
“It shows growth for sure,” McIntosh said. “The last games we were fouling and making bonehead decisions in the last four minutes of the game, the last minute. I think it shows the team coming together, listening to coach.
“Even though some things didn’t go our way, we ended up pulling it out.”
The Ducks had three players in double figures by halftime and led 52-38 at the break. They shot 55.6 percent (20 of 36) from the field and had zero first-half turnovers.
Holiday, UCLA’s leading scorer at 19.1 points per game, was called for his third foul with 8½ minutes to go in the first half, but the Bruins were able to keep contact by hitting 17 of 22 free throws. Holiday finished with 14 points and five assists.
Dana Altman won his 200th game as Oregon’s coach as the Ducks, with a pregame RPI of 97, fanned their flickering hopes of a sixth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. Oregon advanced to the Elite Eight in 2016 and the Final Four last season.
UCLA takes a three-game losing streak back to Pauley Pavilion to start a three-game home stand tied for fifth place in the Pac-12. The Bruins were swept at Oregon State and Oregon for the second time in four seasons.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Oregon had a 31-29 edge in rebounds to improve to 12-1 when it outrebounds its opponent against 1-6 when it doesn’t. McIntosh led the Ducks with eight boards.
Bailey brought the crowd of 12,364 to its feet late in the first half with a soaring dunk off a lob from Pritchard after McIntosh made a steal and pass as he was falling out of bounds.
Pritchard was 8 of 13 from the field, including 5 of 8 beyond the arc, for his best back-to-back shooting performances of the season. The sophomore hit 15 of 25 overall, 7 of 12 from the arc and all six free throws for 43 points against USC and UCLA.
Freshman Kenny Wooten is more than halfway to Jordan Bell’s Oregon season record of 110 blocked shots with 56 through 20 games. . UCLA had a 25-23 edge in bench points, led by Jaylen Hands with 12. . Elijah Brown, Oregon’s second-leading scorer at 13.6 points per game, finished with five and had 14 combined in the split with USC and UCLA.
UCLA: Hosts California on Thursday night to finish the first half of its Pac-12 schedule.
Oregon: Hosts Oregon State in a Civil War rematch on Jan. 27.
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