Pac-12 Tournament: Oregon opens with a win over UCLA

Mar 14, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Oregon Ducks head coach Dana Altman talks with guard Jackson
Mar 14, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Oregon Ducks head coach Dana Altman talks with guard Jackson / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon basketball finished the regular season with a one-point win over the Utah Utes and earned the 4 seed in the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament. Games started on Wednesday with UCLA beating Oregon State.

The Ducks met UCLA on Thursday for a chance to help their body of work for the postseason.

The Ducks and Bruins battled for most of the first half. Over the opening 10 minutes, the lead changed multiple times but the team with the lead never led by more than four points. N’Faly Dante took a little bit to get going but finished strong.

The Bruins took a 34-29 lead into the half.

The final 20 minutes saw the Ducks come back. Thanks to Dante, Oregon had 38 points in the paint for the game as the senior finished with 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Jackson Shelstad was not able to find his shot early and struggled with 12 points off 5 for 10 shooting from the floor. He hit a single three-pointer on the night.

It may not have been pretty at times, but that seems to be the mantra for Oregon this season. Despite the injuries that have affected the team this year, ugly wins are still wins. The Ducks live to play another day on Thursday after a 68-66 win over the Bruins in the Pac-12 Tournament.

A fitting end of the game with N’Faly Dante hitting a hook shot in the final minute for two points to get the win.  

Oregon is looking for a berth in the NCAA Tournament. According to Joe Lunardi with ESPN, the Ducks need one more win. It will likely need to be a victory over Arizona, their next opponent in the Pac-12 Tournament.

Tipoff for the Ducks vs. the Wildcats is set for 5 p.m. Thursday on the Pac-12 Networks.