by Rob Moseley
LAS VEGAS — There's what was and what's to come, all good for Oregon men's basketball.
In between is what happened Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament against UCLA. That had a decidedly different flavor.
Oregon's eight-game winning streak ended with a thud at MGM Grand Garden Arena. The Bruins handed the Ducks an 82-63 defeat, the worst of the season for the UO men, who now await word of their NCAA Tournament destination come Sunday.
"It's one game," UO sophomore Damyean Dotson said in a subdued UO locker room. "We won eight in a row, and this is one game. We're advancing to the next tournament, so we've just got to get that confidence back — start playing together and get back on the right track."
Indeed it was just one game, but it prompted some soul-searching for the Ducks (23-9). Perhaps it had just been so long since they last lost — Feb. 8 at Arizona State — or perhaps it was because they'd pulled out so many close games since, including in double overtime at UCLA on Feb. 27.
The theme from UO coach Dana Altman to his players postgame: Take a look in the mirror and recognize what went wrong.
"We can't feel sorry for ourselves," UO senior Johnathan Loyd said. "We're playing for a lot. The season's not over, so we've got to keep our heads up, and come back and see what went wrong.
"Look in the mirror and be honest with yourself. Did you play as hard as you can? What could you have done to prevent this? I think that's what he meant by that."
The Bruins (24-8) had Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams back in the lineup Thursday, after they missed the double-overtime game due to suspension. From the start, those two helped set a vastly different tone, with only Joseph Young's 29 points keeping the game from being even more one-sided.
UCLA jumped out to a 13-7 lead, and was up 19-13 on a Norman Powell basket before the Ducks' only sustained surge of the night. Seasonlong spark Jason Calliste hit one of his two shots on the night to start a 16-5 run that put Oregon ahead 29-24. Other than that brief spurt, it was all Bruins.
UCLA scored the final six points of the first half, then the first six of the second, putting together a 20-2 run spanning halftime to essentially put the game away.
"We had a couple turnovers and they got a couple of easy baskets," Loyd said. "They kind of got the momentum right there, and then they came out and just popped us. They punched us in the mouth and we never responded. Just dazed the whole game."
The Bruins shot 56.6 percent for the game, while Oregon shot 43.6 percent, including 35.5 percent after halftime. That after the Ducks shot a season-high 80 percent in the second half of Wednesday's first-round defeat of Oregon State.
"We had some looks; the ball didn't go in," Altman told the players afterward. "And when the ball didn't go in, our energy defensively just went way down."
Thus do the Ducks need to look in the mirror, their coach said, and figure out what they need to fix before opening the NCAA Tournament on Thursday or Friday of next week.
"Everybody had a hand in this loss, just like everybody has a hand in wins," UO senior Mike Moser said. "(Looking in the mirror means) just kind of moving on, and definitely getting some confidence back. Because we can't play this way and be successful."
"I've got to look at myself," Dotson acknowledged. "I haven't been producing, haven't been doing anything. No rebounds; going 2-of-8 in the first game, 1-for-7 this one. Just (need to) get in the gym and get that focus, get back on track like we need to. Focus on the things that got us here."
As usual under Altman, that means rebounding and defense. The Ducks were outrebounded 34-29 by the Bruins, and allowed that 56.6 percent shooting performance. Offensive execution also is on the need-to-improve list; Oregon had nine assists with 17 turnovers, after a 15:5 ratio against the Beavers a day earlier.
Altman will now look to seniors like Loyd and Moser to lead the Ducks back from Thursday's disappointment, with renewed confidence for a potential NCAA Tournament run.
"I've been bragging all year about your character and your leadership," Altman told them. "This is where it counts."
NOTES: Loyd entered UO’s top 10 for single-season assists. He now has 150 on the season, passing Aaron Brooks (149/2007) while tying Darius Wright (150/1999) for ninth. … Young entered Oregon’s single-season top-10 lists in both points and free throws. Young has now scored 595 points to average 18.6 per contest. He moved by Luke Jackson (583/2002), Joevan Catron (588/2011) and Anthony Taylor (589/1987) for eighth in scoring. On the free throw list, Young moved into 10th with 145, tying Stan Love (145/1971). … Oregon's 17 turnovers were the most since December. The Ducks committed 18 against Morgan State on Dec. 29.