Oregon defeats UCLA, will face Arizona in Pac-12 Tournament

Mar 14, 2024, 4:59 PM | Updated: 5:08 pm

N'Faly Dante #1 of the Oregon Ducks dunks the ball against the UCLA Bruins in the second half of a ...

N'Faly Dante #1 of the Oregon Ducks dunks the ball against the UCLA Bruins in the second half of a quarterfinal game of the Pac-12 Conference basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 14, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Ducks defeated the Bruins 68-66. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

(Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Oregon’s N’Faly Dante powered the Ducks to a 68-66 victory over UCLA on Thursday in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals.

With the win, the Ducks set up a matchup with the Arizona Wildcats at 5 p.m. MST Friday in the Pac-12 Tournament’s semifinal round.

Oregon struggled in the first half as UCLA took a five-point lead into the break. The Ducks shot 37% in the first half and started the game shooting 0-for-7 from behind the arc.

In the second half, it was a different story. Oregon attacked the rim with Dante and the Ducks finished with 38 points in the paint. The senior center provided 22 points (13 came in the second half) and added six rebounds, four assists and two steals. The big man shot 8-for-11 from the field in 33 minutes.

Dante helped give Oregon its biggest lead when he found his way out of a double-team to find Jackson Shelstad for a lay-in to put the Ducks up 63-53 with 4:07 remaining.

But the Bruins weren’t done and went on a late 9-0 lead to cut the deficit to one with 1:34 to play.

Dante made a jumper to extend the Ducks’ lead to three with 37 seconds left. On the other end, Dylan Andrews scored for UCLA to cut the deficit to one again with 11 seconds left.

UCLA had to foul and Jermaine Couisnard knocked down a pair of free throws to put the Ducks back up by three. Andrews made two more free throws to cut Oregon’s lead to one. Shelstad was fouled and made one of two at the line before Andrews missed a short-range runner at the buzzer that would have sent the game to overtime.

In games decided by five points or fewer this season, the Ducks improved to 8-3, while UCLA fell to 4-6.

In the two meetings between Arizona and Oregon this year, the Wildcats came out on top in both. Arizona won 87-78 in Eugene in January and 103-83 in Tucson earlier this month.

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