UCLA-Oregon Preview

Feb. 22, 2001

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - UCLA goes after its sixth straight victory Thursday when it meets Oregon in a critical Pac-10 game.

The 15th-ranked Bruins (17-6, 10-2) are one game behind No. 1 Stanford in the conference race and have handed the Cardinal their only loss of the season. UCLA, which has overcome a 25-point setback at Arizona and a 29-point defeat at California, is apparently ready for the stretch run.

Coach Steve Lavin's team swept its Arizona opponents at Pauley Pavilion last week, capped by a 73-68 triumph over Arizona State on Saturday. Billy Knight scored a career-high 23 points, while Earl Watson added 15 points and a career-best eight steals for the Bruins, who showed no letdown from their overtime victory over Arizona on Thursday.

"You don't care how you win as long as you get the `W,"' Watson said, "but we've got to clean things up. If we're going to do well, I've got to take care of the ball better."

Jason Kapono, who was held to nine points in 21 minutes due to foul trouble on Saturday, leads the team in scoring at 17.8 points per game and is shooting 47.8 percent from 3-point range this season.

Oregon (13-10, 4-9), which had NCAA tournament aspirations following a 10-1 start, is now relegated to the role of spoiler. The Ducks, though, snapped a four-game losing streak with an 85-73 victory at Washington on Saturday.

Freshman forward Luke Jackson recorded just the second triple-double in school history, finishing with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Jackson, who is averaging 7.8 points and 4.0 rebounds, has earned a spot in the starting lineup for this game.

"That was incredible, and we should take time out to recognize what a special feat it was, and what a special player he is," Ducks coach Ernie Kent said. "To have a freshman come out with a game like that, on the road, when typically a freshman might shut down on you at this point, facing the type of season we're having, that was pretty special."

Bryan Bracey is averaging team highs of 18.7 points and 7.0 rebounds for Oregon, which is 1-3 against ranked opponents this season. The Ducks are 3-4 in conference play at MacArthur Court, losing three in a row.

Matt Barnes scored a career-high 26 points and Watson added 20 for the Bruins in a 98-88 victory over the Ducks at Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 27. Frederick Jones scored 22 points for Oregon, which is 18-70 all-time against UCLA.

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