LOS ANGELES — No. 21 Oregon and No. 24 UCLA came into Saturday’s game chasing first place in the Pac-12. The Ducks played better defense in the second half and came away with the top spot.
Tony Woods scored 18 points while missing just one shot, Dominic Artis added 14 points, and Arsaian Kazemi had 12 points and 11 rebounds in Oregon’s 76-67 victory that improved the Ducks to 5-0 in league play for the first time in 39 years.
“We knew we had to get better defensively," Kazemi said. “Our game plan was to attack them off the dribble and just in general be more aggressive on the defensive end."
The Ducks (16-2, 5-0 Pac-12) shot 60 percent in the second half and controlled the boards 40-31, including a 13-7 edge on the offensive glass. They pulled away with a 15-6 run that gave them the lead for good.
Travis Wear scored 17 points to lead the Bruins, whose 10-game winning streak — including eight straight at home — equaled their longest since 2008-09. Norman Powell added 11 points starting in place of Shabazz Muhammad, who finished with 10 points, as did Kyle Anderson.
“We just can’t get too big-headed about our win streak and think this team is just going to lay over and give us the win," Powell said. “We just needed to come out harder in the second half."
That’s when UCLA shot 38 percent while contending with a mix of full-court and zone defense.
“They did a great job changing up looks and keeping us uncomfortable," Wear said. “They’re a really, really good rebounding team. We got to box out and go seek the ball rather than just boxing out and hoping someone else is going to grab it. Go get it."
The Bruins (15-4, 5-1) led by three points at halftime after shooting 55 percent in getting out on the break. They were up by five early in the second half and tied the game at 52-all before the Ducks’ defense stepped up and sent UCLA’s shooting into a tailspin.
“They got to run on us way too much in the first half," Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “We talked about doing a better job on defense. We depend heavily on young players and we got off to a slow start this year, but we are a totally different team than we were earlier in the year when we had two seniors out with injuries."
After barely getting by Southern California 76-74 on Thursday, the Ducks won their seventh straight and 11th in their past 12. They are 5-0 in league play for the first time since 1973-74 when the conference had eight teams. Back then, they lost their next game to then-No. 1 UCLA at Pauley Pavilion.
“We knew it would be a battle and we’re very happy to win a pair in L.A.," Kazemi said.
Down by five, the Ducks ran off eight straight points to take a 49-46 lead while the Bruins went 5:17 without scoring. They tied the game at 52-all on a jumper by Wear. From there, the Ducks slowly built a 62-56 lead, capped by Kazemi’s layup off his own offensive rebound.
Powell hit a 3-pointer and Anderson made two free throws to pull the Bruins within one with 3:30 to play, but they came no closer in front of 12,254, the second-largest crowd of the season at the newly renovated arena.
“They really did a good job slowing the tempo down in the second half and we didn’t handle that really well," UCLA coach Ben Howland said.
Muhammad didn’t start as punishment for being late to practice on Friday and he sat the first 5 minutes. The freshman scored 10 of UCLA’s final 12 points to put them ahead 40-37 at halftime.
Also on Saturday:
No. 6 Syracuse 70
No. 1 Louisville 68
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Brandon Triche scored 23 points and Michael Carter-Williams scored the final four points as Syracuse (17-1, 5-0) rallied to upset Louisville in a showdown of unbeaten Big East Conference teams. Russ Smith’s 25 points led Louisville (16-2, 4-1), which had its 11-game winning streak stopped.
No. 4 Kansas 64
AUSTIN, Texas — Ben McLemore scored 16 points and Kansas (16-1, 4-0 Big 12) stormed back from a late double-digit deficit for its 15th straight win.
No. 7 Arizona 71
Arizona State 54
TEMPE, Ariz. — Mark Lyons scored 24 points and Nick Johnson added 19 as Arizona (16-1, 4-1 Pac-12) pulled away in the second half. Jahii Carson had 22 points for Arizona State (14-4, 3-2).
No. 10 Florida 83
No. 17 Missouri 52
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Scottie Wilbekin had 13 points and 10 assists, his first career double-double, for Florida (14-2, 4-0 SEC). Jabari Brown led the Tigers (13-4, 2-2) with 16 points.
No. 18 Michigan State 59
No. 11 Ohio State 56
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Keith Appling made two free throws with 7.9 seconds left and finished with 15 points for Michigan State (16-3, 5-1 Big Ten). Deshaun Thomas scored a career Big Ten-high 28 points, including six 3-pointers for the Buckeyes (13-4, 3-2).
Wichita State 67
No. 12 Creighton 64
WICHITA, Kan. — Carl Hall had 17 points and 13 rebounds and Malcolm Armstead hit two key free throws in the closing seconds for Wichita State (17-2, 6-1 Missouri Valley Conference) in handing the Bluejays their second loss.
No. 15 San Diego State 45
LARAMIE, Wyo. — Leonard Washington had 14 points and 14 rebounds to help Wyoming (15-2, 2-2 Mountain West) beat cold shooting San Diego State (14-4, 2-2).
No. 16 Kansas State 69
MANHATTAN, Kan. — Rodney McGruder scored 20 points and Will Spradling added 15 for Kansas State (15-2, 4-0 Big 12).
No. 20 Notre Dame 69
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Jack Cooley had 19 points, 10 rebounds and blocked a shot with two seconds left to help Notre Dame hang on for a win over Rutgers, ending a two-game losing streak for the Fighting Irish (15-3, 3-2 Big East).
No. 22 VCU 90
PITTSBURGH — Rob Brandenberg scored 22 points and VCU (16-3, 4-0 Atlantic 10) dominated in winning its 13th consecutive game, beating Duquesne.
No. 25 Marquette 69
CINCINNATI — Sean Kilpatrick scored seven of his career-high 36 points in overtime, and Cincinnati (16-3, 4-2 Big East) blew a 16-point lead before rallying to a victory over Marquette (13-4, 4-1), ending the Bearcats’ streak of three straight home losses.
SEATTLE — Jason Washburn scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half, Brandon Taylor added a career-high 19 off the bench and Utah (9-9, 1-5 Pac-12) won its first Pac-12 road game in two seasons. Andrew Andrews led Washington (12-6, 4-1) with 17 points.
Washington State 49
PULLMAN, Wash. — Spencer Dinwiddie scored 16 points and had eight rebounds as Colorado (12-6, 2-4 Pac-12) came up with a great defensive performance. Brock Motum and Mike Ladd had 13 points for Washington State (10-8, 1-4).
STANFORD, Calif. — Dwight Powell scored 17 points to lead Stanford (11-7, 2-3 Pac-12). Allen Crabbe and David Kravish each scored 14 points to lead the Bears (10-7, 2-3 Pac-12), who have lost four of their past six.