Tyger Campbell lifts No. 2 UCLA past Oregon in Pac-12 semis
By MARK ANDERSON
LAS VEGAS (AP) UCLA's future in the Pac-12 Conference Tournament hung in the balance after it lost yet another player to injury and faced an Oregon team that wouldn't go away.
Then point guard Tyger Campbell began to look for his shot.
Campbell scored 20 points after halftime, including all seven during a key second-half run, and finished with a career-high 28 to lead second-ranked UCLA past Oregon 75-56 in the Pac-12 semifinals on Friday night.
“Coach called some great plays, and our bigs were getting me open on our ball screens,” Campbell said. “Then we were able to get the switch so I could get the shot that I wanted. I was really just trying to make anything happen. I believe in myself as a player, and any shot I take I feel like it’s going to go in, and they just went in today.”
The Bruins (29-4) will play No. 8 Arizona or Arizona State in Saturday's title game. UCLA has won 12 straight and 26 of 28, and one more victory likely would secure a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Oregon (19-14) had won four in a row but may have needed this win to make the NCAA Tournament.
Campbell's personal seven-point run gave UCLA a 57-46 lead. The 5-foot-11 guard capped the spurt by dribbling near the key, backing up, looking at the shot clock and then charging ahead for a pull-up 16-footer over Oregon 7-footer Kel'el Ware.
Campbell's previous best was a 27-point performance on Feb. 12, 2022 against Southern California. He also had six assists against the Ducks.
“Tyger got it going, and we did a poor job of adjusting on him,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “We just didn’t stop him.”
UCLA lost a big defensive presence inside when Adem Bona injured his left arm while diving for a loose ball. He grabbed his arm and shortly afterward was taken to the locker room with 16:14 left in the game. Bona had done a little bit of everything with four points, four rebounds and two blocked shots.
Bona returned to the bench but didn't re-enter the game. Mac Etienne and Kenneth Nwuba played in his place. Bruins coach Mick Cronin didn't provide any details on Bona's injury.
UCLA was already playing the tournament without Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Jaylen Clark.
Campbell helped the Bruins overcome those losses. Jaime Jaquez Jr. added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and David Singleton had 12 points.
“We’ve got guys on scholarship for a reason,” Cronin said. “We tell them all year, ‘Your moment’s going to come in March and we’re going to need you.’”
Quincy Guerrier and Will Richardson each scored 10 points for Oregon, and N'Faly Dante had 10 rebounds.
Oregon: The Ducks ran into one of the nation's top defenses, and they especially struggled from outside, shooting 3 of 19 from 3-point range. Oregon managed to hang around thanks to a bench that outscored UCLA 26-4.
UCLA: The Bruins have managed to win both games in the tournament without Clark and got by without Bona in the second half against the Ducks. They likely will need to get healthier to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
Oregon: The Ducks' next game likely will be in the NIT.
UCLA: The Bruins want the No. 1 seed in the West, which could put them back in Las Vegas in two weeks for the regional. They must win Saturday to ensure that.
AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25
Updated March 11, 2023