Deep Three: Bruins find their way out

We go beyond the arc following UCLA's 64-54 win against Oregon on Thursday at Pauley Pavilion:


There wasn't a fir tree in sight. No forest. No "hardwood glare," either. Even the half-court line was visible.

Maybe someone forgot to tell UCLA it was playing Oregon at Pauley Pavilion, not Matthew Knight Arena.

The Bruins' early-game numbers -- namely the 3-for-14 shooting out of the gate -- had more of a Matt Court feel to them. UCLA came out flat and fell behind by eight before making a run to end the first half. They woke up and didn't trail by more than five after the break.

"I'm really happy to get the win," coach Ben Howland said. "In the first half we didn't do a good job of getting the ball inside. We've got to do a better job sealing with our post players. We made a good comeback."

The Bruins are the only team not to lose -- or, in other words, get trapped "Deep in the Woods." They nearly got caught deep in Westwood, though.


Perhaps Reeves Nelson wanted to send a message. Oregon's E.J. Singler, a player Nelson was critical of earlier this season, had just fouled out. It seemed like the perfect time to make the Ducks take notice.

So Nelson went up, then came crashing down.

With UCLA up 10 and less than 30 seconds remaining, Nelson went for the loud, breakaway slam dunk but was fouled hard by Jay-R Strowbridge. It was loud, alright, but Howland and game officials were soon keeping Nelson from approaching Strowbridge.

Nelson's dunk attempt wasn't at all surprising. He did something similar in last year's win at Oregon State. And to add more fuel to the fire, he had called out Singler for taking "cheap shots" when the two teams met in mid January.

So was it about retaliation?

"No, no," Nelson said. "I don't even know who fouled me. I just knew that I got hacked pretty hard and hurt my ankle a little bit."

Singler, who scored a team-high 15 points in the last meeting, was a non-factor. He picked up his fourth foul just three minutes into the second half and finished with nine points. Singler fouled out with 40.5 seconds left.

Less than 20 seconds later, Nelson was going up for the dunk.

"I don't care," Nelson said. "It was just in the heat of the moment. Sometimes you get caught up. I really didn't expect it but it's all good now."