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By Bill Seals
Sports Reporter 

UCLA beats Stanford after sweeping the Oregon schools

 

February 8, 2024

George Laase

UCLA's Dylan Andrews is continues to show why he is one of the best players on an improving Bruin team. UCLA is now 12-11 overall and 6-5 in the Pac-12.

The UCLA men's basketball team, coming off an impressive 65-50 victory over the USC Trojans, extended their winning streak to three games with a sweep of the Oregon State Beavers and the Oregon Ducks, winning both games by the identical score of 71-63. In the process, UCLA point guard Dylan Andrews continues to show that he is one of the best players on the team.

In the current three game winning streak, Andrews has scored a total of 59 points and has 14 assists. During this three-game streak, Andrews has made 8 of 12 shots from three-point range. He scored 20 points in the win over Trojans on January 27, 18 points against Oregon State on February 1, and 21 points with 7 assists in the victory over the Ducks on February 3.

Against the Beavers, Andrews combined with center Aden Bona and forward Lazar Stefanovic for 51 of the Bruins 71 points, with Bona scoring 18 and Stefanovic 15. But Oregon State closed to within one point at 55-54 with 6:02 remaining in the game.

At that point of the game, Andrews took over, scoring seven consecutive points on three jump shots, one a three-point shot to give the Bruins a safe cushion and the victory. UCLA head coach Mick Cronin spoke about the progress and development of the speedy Andrews after the Oregon State victory.

"There's a time to use speed on the highway and there's a time to change gears in traffic," Cronin said. "I thought there was only one time today where he had his head down going too fast and came up and shot a blind jumper. Young kid. He continues to improve because he's a good kid and listens to me. That helps. Helps a lot."

"I feel like right now, we're really locked in, and we've got momentum right now," Andrews said. "We're gonna keep using that to our best ability.  I would say we started out this season with a big change, from me playing 10 minutes to pretty much playing the whole game. I feel like as the season goes on, we start adjusting, getting used to it. I'm starting to feel more comfortable playing all those minutes."

The Bruins looked very comfortable against the Ducks, jumping to a 23-5 lead early in the game and looking like they were going to run away with the game, but the Ducks have a talented team and got hot from the three-point line, coming back to take a 34-33 lead at halftime.

With center Bona in foul trouble, the trio of Stefanovic, Andrews, and freshman Sebastian Mack carried the Bruins to victory in the second half, with Stefanovic scoring 15 points and adding a double-double with 10 rebounds. Mack, who leads the Bruins in scoring with an average of 13.1 points per game, added 16 points, nine in the second half.

The Bruins took the lead for good on a Stefanovic jump shot, 50-48 with 12:46 remaining in the game. They never looked back after that. The Bruins improved to 11-11 for the season and 6-5 in the Pac-12 conference. The Bruins have won five of their last six games and Cronin can see the improvement.

"Obviously, we continue to grow as a team," Cronin said. "They made a big run at us. I think they made five threes in a row in the first half. Big part of their game plan. Look, they're shooting almost 42 percent in the Pac-12 from the three-point line, making 9.8 a game. So, I was unhappy with the fact that we started letting them make threes. We won the game because they only made one in the second half."

The Bruins traveled to the Bay Area this week to take on the Stanford Cardinal in Palo Alto on Wednesday evening and, and the California Golden Bears in Berkeley on Saturday afternoon. Stanford is in a four-way tie for fourth place in the Pac-12 conference with the Bruins at 6-5. Overall, Stanford is 11-10 for the season.

Stanford is 10th in the nation in three-point shooting averaging 39.1% per game. Stanford is the only team in the Pac-12 with five players averaging in double figures. McDonald's All-American Andre Stojakovic, a freshman and son of former NBA all-star Peja Stojakovic, is averaging 8 point per game. Fellow freshman four-star guard Kanaan Carlyle is second is scoring at 14.3 points per game.

The Cal Bears are 5-6 in conference play and 9-13 for the season, a big improvement over their 2022-2023 season record of 3-29. New Cal head coach, former Laker Mark Madsen has brought an energy and toughness to the team that was lacking, along with adding a few key transfers.

Guard Jaylon Tyson, a transfer from Texas Tech, is the second leading scorer in the Pac-12 averaging 20 points per game, while adding 7.4 rebounds per game and 3.3 assists per game. Forward Fardaws Aimaq, who also transferred from Texas Tech in the offseason, leads the conference in rebounding at 10.6 per game.

The Bruins were swept at home by Stanford and Cal in early January and will be looking for some payback this week in the Bay Area. As Cronin said after about his young Bruin squad after the win over Oregon, "I just think we are learning what winning effort is."

On Wednesday night, UCLA defeated Stanford 82-74 behind 21 points from Mack. Five Bruin players were in double figures in scoring and the Bruins made 11 of 25 three point shot attempts. The Bruins improved to 7-5 in conference and 12-11 for the season. Andrews and the young Bruins squad appear to be ready for this important road trip to the Bay Area.

 

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