Category: writing

Writing in my portfolio.

Portfolio: Economy alters family patterns

Appeared in Salem Statesman Journal Aug. 28, 2011

Oregonians are living in a broader range of family types than 10 years ago as the recession and other factors have caused living arrangements to adapt, according to new Census numbers.

For years there has been a trend away from a husband and wife raising their related children, but the 2010 Census shows that no single type of family is replacing it.

Marion and Polk counties have been swept up in a number in national trends, including more families with multiple generations, while still having higher rates of marriage and child bearing than the state as a whole.

“In general we have a larger proliferation of different types of families,” said Scott Coltrane, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oregon.

“You have fewer people getting married, people waiting longer to get married, more single-person households and then the interesting thing is childbearing and where children are living are in flux.”

Families are finding ways to get by, as they’ve done for some time, according to Linfield professor of sociology Amy Orr.

“Families adapt to the broader society, and that has happened throughout time,” Orr said. “If you want to understand the family at any particular point in time, you have to look at what is happening in the broader society.”

While the number of husband and wife homes grew about 4 percent in the state, it was slower than family households at around 9 percent in the past decade.

In Oregon, 48 percent of households belonged to married couples in 2010, compared to 52 percent in 2000. Marion and Polk counties were at 50 percent and 54 percent, 2010, a 3 percentage point drop in each case.

Of all families in Oregon, 448,329 had children in 2010, an increase of 2.8 percent from 2000. Marion saw an increase of about 5 percent, and Polk went up 15 percent.

Overall the percentage of homes with children dropped 10 percent in Oregon.

With those changes, other family types have filled in the gaps.

Unmarried partner homes increased 44 percent in Oregon in the past 10 years.

There was also a 39 percent increase across the state in grandchildren living in their grandparents’ homes.

The percent of single-person homes rose, as did the percent of homes with seven or more people, each by around 20 percent.

Much of this can be tied to the economy, Orr said.

She pointed out the decision to avoid marriage (median age at first marriage was 28.2 for men and 26.1 for women in 2010) and children isn’t necessarily new.

“With more and more parents deciding not to have children, there was another time in history where this happened at a high rate as well, and that was the Great Depression,” she said. “People said — and this sounds harsh — that children were economic liabilities and we just can’t do that.”

Marion and Polk counties have bucked this particular trend.

A USA Today study found that 95 percent of counties in the U.S. saw a drop in the number of people 18 or younger from 2000 to 2010. Both

Marion and Polk saw an increase.

Overall, Marion has the largest percentage of its population younger than 5 in Oregon’s 36 counties at 7.5 percent. Polk is 10th at 6.5 percent.

Both counties saw an increase in number of grandchildren living with a grandparent. Polk went up 46 percent and Marion rose 52 percent.

Oregon overall saw a 39 percent increase.

Overall, around 4 percent of Marion homes have three or more generations, fourth-highest in the state. Polk was just above the state rate of 3 percent, at 3.18.

Although some people suggest that the increase in the state’s Hispanic population may be moving those numbers higher — the Census did find that Hispanic families in Oregon were more likely to have multi-generational homes — Coltrane said his research has found it tied more with economic factors.

“Some of the characterizations are that people prefer to live in multi-generational households, but most of the survey data is that they don’t necessarily prefer to live together, it’s an adjustment to economic hard times,” he said.

Orr said while the changes are unwelcome to some, for the most part it’s just the natural fluctuation of human living patterns.

“Based on what we’ve seen and historical trends, the family fluctuates like this on and off, but we tend to look back to the ’50s as the golden age, which is really a rare time in history,” she said.

“That was a very rare time, but if you look at what was going on in society that made sense, coming back from war, having more children,” Orr said. “If we look at the trends in the family, that probably doesn’t work as well today as it did back then.”

Portfolio: Strong ticket sales, donations boost UO athletics

Appeared in Salem Statesman Journal Aug. 22, 2010

Although the University of Oregon athletic department seems in good financial shape, there are a number of unknowns heading into the next few years.

The Ducks increased athletic spending 50 percent during the past five years, up from $40 million in 2005-09 to $60 million in 2008-09, according to a USA TODAY database.

The national leader in spending for 2008-09 was Texas at $127.6 million.

Strong ticket sales and support from donors such as Nike’s Phil Knight have helped Oregon become one of 30 Division I schools that received no institutional support last year, according to USA TODAY.

University president Richard Lariviere declined to comment on athletic spending, saying that because no general fund money goes to the athletic department, the issue wasn’t his to speak on.

“The bottom line is that the athletic department, being self-sufficient, essentially runs its own show as long as it stays within budget and adheres to the university’s larger academic mission,” UO spokesman Joe Mosley said in an e-mail to the Statesman Journal.

The department came under scrutiny this year after it was revealed that outgoing athletic director Mike Bellotti had been working without a contract and was scheduled to receive $2.3 million in severance when he left the university for a broadcasting job with ESPN.

The university responded to the criticism by hiring accounting-focused Rob Mullens to replace Bellotti and appointing former law school associate dean for finance Jamie Moffitt to the new position of executive senior associate athletic director for finance and administration.

Moffitt came on board in April. Mullens’ first day was Monday.

The pair took over a department that reported $59 million in revenue in 2008-09, the first time in the five years of the USA TODAY database in which the Ducks spent more than they brought in.

Moffitt said the difference was largely an accounting issue: Pledged contributions came in after the end of the fiscal year but before the start of football season and restored balance to the books.

Oregon reported $17.9 million in contributions, accounting for 30 percent of its budget, followed next by $17.1 in ticket sales and $10.7 in NCAA and conference distributions, which is largely payments for postseason play and television rights.

The Oregon athletic department spends money in four main areas; student aid, coaching salaries, administrative costs and facilities.

The Ducks have increased spending on salaries by 120 percent during the past five years to $9.3 million last year.

Football coach Chip Kelly signed a five-year deal that will pay him at least $7 million and new men’s basketball coach Dana Altman’s $1.8 million annual deal will be on the books for 2009-10 (former coach Ernie Kent earned about $1.1 million).

The steep increases in total spending during the past five years most likely will continue at least through the 2009-10 academic year, although after that the forecast is less clear.

Next year’s budget will reflect the assessed value of the new John E. Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes, which an Oregonian public records request found to cost $41 million to build and furnish.

Matthew Knight Arena, a 12,500-seat, $200-million facility, also is scheduled to open in time for the 2011 Pac-10 Conference basketball season.
Oregon athletic officials hope that the addition of the arena will produce more sports revenue (Oregon basketball brought in around $2.5 million in ticket sales in 2008-09) and also attract outside events.

“There has been a lot of growth in our department and it’s important to stay operationally focused,” Moffitt said.

“Just because we have our arena opening up we can’t take our eye off the ball in terms of everything that has to happen for a football game day. ”

The department hasn’t felt significant impact from the economic downturn, something Moffitt is hopeful won’t overly affect athletics going forward.

The crowds, especially for football, showed up last year. The Ducks welcomed their 68th-consecutive sellout at Autzen for the 2009 Civil War, which was played in front of a record crowd of 59,597.

“I don’t expect our revenues are going to go down because of the economy because some of our ticket prices went up and sales are still being made,” she said.
“It’s certainly not something where we’re saying we’re going to drop $5 million because of the economy, but I do think it affects at the margins what’s going on.”

Moffitt said the future direction of the department still is developing as Mullens moves into the job, although the expansion of the Pac-10 to 12 teams and a new media contract also will have a significant impact on anything the school does.

“In terms of the next five years, that’s something Rob, coming into his position, needs to think about and learn about,” Moffitt said.

“And that’s what he’s doing, meeting with different people and understanding the issues and then articulating a business plan from that.”

Portfolio: From Philomath to Super Bowl

Appeared in the Salem Statesman Journal Feb. 3, 2008

Tight end Kevin Boss, the ex-Western Oregon star, took an unusual road to get to pro football’s biggest game

By CHRIS HAGAN

Statesman Journal

Many people were staring at their televisions in disbelief two weeks ago as Lawrence Tynes sent a field goal through the uprights to send the New York Giants to today’s Super Bowl.

Although more than a few of those were in Wisconsin, one sat in Monmouth. Mark Thorson, the starting quarterback for the NCAA Division II Western Oregon Wolves since 2005, saw a familiar face staring back.

Wearing No. 89 for the Giants was former Wolves tight end Kevin Boss, Thorson’s teammate for four years. Slowly it sunk in that Boss would be heading to Glendale, Ariz., to start against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

“Last week after they beat Green Bay, I sat there for about five minutes, just in shock,” Thorson said. “I still can’t believe he’s in the Super Bowl.”

Boss hasn’t taken the well-traveled road to the NFL. A lightly recruited player from Philomath High School, Boss landed at Western Oregon in 2002.

After a standout career at WOU, including a selection to the Daktronics all-American team his junior year, Boss was selected in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL draft by the Giants. Boss is the second WOU player drafted by the NFL.

Boss spent most of the season backing up Pro-Bowl tight end Jeremy Shockey until an injury to Shockey moved Boss into the starting lineup. Boss started all three Giants playoff games and will start today against the Patriots.

“I just feel really blessed to be put in these situations, being drafted by the Giants, working with Jeremy, playing in the Super Bowl my first year,” Boss said.

Boss wasn’t always the prototypical 6-6, 253-pound target that he is now. At Philomath, many thought basketball would be the big, skinny — yes, skinny — kid’s future.

“He’s 6-6 about 205 when he played for us, which was great for us because he was so athletic,” former Philomath head football coach C.A. Rath said. “He’s always had great hands, which helped his basketball abilities as well or vice versa.”

Boss helped Philomath win the 2002 Class 3A basketball state title and was an all-state honorable mention pick as a post.

Boss spent two years playing junior varsity football before moving up as a junior. Although Boss had the height, he didn’t have the strength to dominate.

“He wasn’t somebody that physically would tackle someone and knock them down and hurt ’em kind of thing, but he would always make the play,” Rath said. “But on offense when he got the ball, there was something electric about it.”

Rath still remembers a late-season game against Toledo in which Philomath went to halftime down 18-0, needing a win to stay in the playoff hunt.

“In the second half we ended up beating them 21-18 and Kevin caught a 6- or 7-yard yard pass on a crossing route and took it 57 yards for a touchdown,” he said. “When you see a guy who’s 6-6, 200 pounds running 57 yards down the field and basically outrunning everyone on the field for the win … it’s pretty amazing.”

Despite being an honorable mention all-state Class 3A pick as a senior, Boss wasn’t heavily recruited.

Boss wasn’t sure he still wanted to play football in college. He loved basketball, and that was what he planned to focus on.

“I didn’t decide to play college football until the end of my senior year,” Boss said in an interview before the draft. “I was just thinking of playing basketball. It was kind of last-minute. I decided I didn’t want my football career to be over, and I could do both at Western.”

Western Oregon head coach Arne Ferguson got his first look at Boss in a hall outside his office.

“He walked in the hallway, and I peaked around the corner and there’s this good looking kid, 6-5,” Ferguson said. “And he lifted up his arms and I thought, ‘What are we going to do here?’ ”

The team chose to redshirt Boss, giving him time to put on weight and adjust to the college game. But quickly Boss began to catch up to his peers, eventually bulking up to 255 pounds.

Hands proved his biggest assets

But even with the added mass the most important part of his game was still the hands.

“Catching the football … I’ve never seen so many amazing catches,” Ferguson said. “He’s just so fluid. That’s what’s drawn him to where he is.”

The Wolves inserted plays to get the ball to Boss, flexing him off the line and keeping him in motion, the same way the Giants have used Shockey.

For a young starting quarterback such as Thorson, having a huge mobile target was a comfort.

“For me, he was definitely a security blanket,” Thorson said. “My first year starting, he helped me out seeing the defense and we all know he’s a big target, so he was a huge help to me.”

NFL scouts began calling early in Boss’ senior season. But a torn labrum in his left shoulder forced him to miss the final four games of the season and throw his NFL career into doubt.

But Boss worked back from the injury, including training with strength and conditioning coach Tom Shaw in Florida. On the second day of the draft Boss’ name was called with the 153rd pick overall.

Just as in high school and college, Boss needed to work to add size to help his blocking. He spent time in the weight room and with Giants tight end coach Mike Pope.

But the biggest adjustment has been mental. Boss credits Pope and Shockey with molding him.

“When I was in college I just went out there and played,” Boss said. “I did well, but I didn’t know the game as well as I do now. There were little things I never used to think about.”

He’s spent hours watching game tape and talking with Pope and Shockey and now feels he understands what the defense is doing.

“In college, I hardly ever read the defensive coverage. I just ran my routes and tried to get open,” Boss said. “Now, I’m looking at the secondary, I’m looking at the defensive lineman’s stance, trying to see if he’s heavy on his hands to see if he’s rushing or dropping back in coverage.

“I know what every single defender is supposed to do in every single coverage,” he said.

Boss began backing up Shockey and playing some on special teams. But the season didn’t begin well.

“We got off to an 0-2 start, so I didn’t know what type of season we were going to have,” Boss said.

Boss picked up his first catch in week 10 against the Dallas Cowboys. His first touchdown came in week 15 against the Washington Redskins, the same week Shockey broke his left fibula.

“I definitely had mixed feelings,” Boss said after the Shockey injury. “I felt like because of the time I had spent behind (Shockey) and with coach Pope, I felt they had prepared me for this situation. All year I was one snap away from having to fill his shoes.”

His first start came on a miserable day in Orchard Park, N.Y, against the Bills. Wind gusts reached 50 mph. Snow and rain pelted the players.

The team rushed for 291 yards and clinched a playoff berth. Despite not catching a pass, Boss said he though the game solidified his role on the team.

“I was excited,” Boss said. “We had rushed for almost 300 yards, and I felt I had contributed to that success, so I felt ‘I do belong.’ ”

“Kevin’s done a great job of picking up our offense, understanding what to do,” Giants quarterback Eli Manning told the Boston Herald. “It’s taken him awhile, and it’s probably better that he had to sit and watch and figure out what was going on, but he’s responded and he played real well for us.”

“He’s a young guy who’s responded very well. He’s made plays along the way, and he’s gotten better as a blocker,” head coach Tom Coughlin told the New York Sun.

Even Giants fans are starting to recognize the name ‘Boss’ as something other than that musician guy across the river in New Jersey.

Edward Valentine runs the Giants blog www. bigblueview.com. He said that fans have taken a liking not only to Boss’ play but his personality.

“First of all, he has skills. We can all see that,” Valentine said. “Secondly, he’s a quiet, unassuming guy who doesn’t rattle any cages or make a scene when things aren’t right.”

The Giants lost a week 17 matchup with the Patriots but charged through the playoffs, beating the Buccaneers and the Cowboys on the road to advance to the NFC championship game in Green Bay against the Packers.

The game was played in the third-coldest conditions in NFL history, hitting minus-1 degree at kickoff.

“I don’t think anybody was really excited playing in whatever it was, negative something, but we knew it would affect us and affect Green Bay also so (you) try not to think about it and play,” Boss said.

When Tynes’ field goal in overtime sent the Giants to the Super Bowl, Boss remembers running onto the field and hugging teammate Zak DeOssie hard enough to bloody his friend’s nose.

Boss said that after winning three playoff games on the road the Giants are trying to look at the Super Bowl as yet another road trip. After losing the first matchup with the Patriots, the Giants are happy to have another shot at the undefeated team.

“I think we’re almost glad to have drawn the Patriots again,” he said. “We feel we match up well against them.”

They’ll be watching back home

In Monmouth, old habits die hard for Ferguson. After years of watching Boss on tape, he can’t seem to let go of the remote control even with Boss now in the pros.

“Sometimes when Kevin’s playing, I’ll rewind the DVR,” he admitted. “I bet (my wife) won’t let me do it during the Super Bowl.”

Ferguson talked to Boss early in the week and told him to relax and just treat it like another game. Ferguson remembers Boss always played better relaxed.

“He just kind of laughed,” Ferguson said.

Thorson will be watching the game with a group of teammates, just like Boss did while at Western Oregon. Thorson said Boss is setting an example for every small-town Oregon kid with NFL hopes.

“For me, it’s just hard work pays off,” Thorson said. “For young players out there saying ‘I can do this.’ He came from a small town, played at a small college and it all paid off.”

Rath said he feels pride watching a player he’s known since childhood on the NFL’s biggest stage.

“I taught Kevin when he was in third grade at the elementary school and I was his football coach at the high school,” Rath said. “For me, knowing the type of person he is and what a hard worker he is it’s been kind of a really neat thing to see.”

For Boss, thinking back to how close he came his senior year to not being able to play again, this opportunity is even sweeter.

“Everyone’s just feeling the same way I am: They just can’t believe it’s happening,” he said.

Although the game is top of mind now, Boss also is looking ahead.

“I’m looking forward to coming home in the offseason,” he said. “I’ll definitely be going to see some basketball games at Western and some basketball games at Philomath. I’m looking forward to getting back to the great Northwest.”

Portfolio: Ball diamonds are a kid’s best friend

Appeared in Salem Statesman Journal June 11, 2007

In 1986, a South Salem resident built his own Field of Dreams, and every year since, players young and old have come

By CHRIS HAGAN

Statesman Journal

Just beyond the fence in left field is a pinot noir vineyard. A flower garden can swallow fly balls hit to right field.

Trees line both base lines, with the patriarch, a 400-year-old oak with a tire swing, standing watch over the entire scene in center field.

Across Vitae Springs Road S, horses are grazing on the hills.

Not your normal backyard. And definitely not your normal ballfield.

You can find it all at Ed Bacon’s Field of Dreams. Bacon built the Little League-sized field on his 2-acre property in rural South Salem more than 20 years ago for his two sons.

Throughout the years, he has expanded and improved it. He started with a simple infield but eventually added a backstop, a professional grass infield and a sprinkler system.

Once just a place for his own kids to play, the field has hosted practices for local baseball and softball teams and holds an annual picnic and game for family and friends.

“The scenery is great … out in the country,” said Rachel Hambelton, a South Salem Little League parent. “It’s so relaxing.”

The field was born in 1986, when Bacon decided to turn an overrun grassy area into an infield for his sons, Brian and David.

“[It was] for the boys and the neighborhood kids,” Bacon said. “In those years, there were a fair amount of kids in the neighborhood, and we had a lot of family friends whose boys were the same age. So it got used quite often.”

The boys would play pickup games and “500,” often staying out until the last rays of sun melted away past the third-base line.

As the years went on, Bacon kept tinkering with the field. For a backstop he drove four cast-iron well casings four feet into the ground and connected PVC pipe and netting on the top. Though the well casings are still there, the PVC has been replaced with welded steel pipes.

He cleared the outfield areas and added grass.

Redwood benches sit behind home plate. Bacon snagged them from Salem Hospital — where he used to work as a medical photographer — because the hospital was throwing them out. Joining those is a stone water fountain.

The only thing missing is a pitcher’s mound. Bacon decided to keep the area level so both baseball and softball teams could use the field.

“It’s only elevated in the fact that it slopes uphill,” Bacon said.

That isn’t as much of a problem anymore. Three years ago, he decided to redo the infield and got some help from a professional field company in Portland. They donated equipment, allowing Bacon to laser-grade the steep field, which slopes down from the vineyard beyond left field to first base.

“They brought down a tractor and it was laser-graded according to the land,” Bacon said. “So that was kind of neat, because I certainly didn’t have access to that equipment.”

Special field, special rules

Bacon said he doesn’t know how much money he has spent on the field, although a friend who works with sports fields gave him an estimate.

“He told me if I started the field from scratch, I would put something like $50,000 into doing it,” Bacon said.

The field requires about 20 hours of maintenance per week for watering, mowing and keeping up the infield.

“He enjoys it, and it keeps him out of trouble,” Bacon’s wife, Marilyn, said. “It’s a labor of love.”

Despite the professional feel to much of the field, there are some quirks, including the tire swing hanging from the oak tree in center and the Bacon family home in deep right.

Marilyn has a flower garden in short right field, which makes it tough to play flyballs.

“If someone is a lefty — and if they knock one over into right field it’s a foul ball because it’s unplayable,” Bacon said. “No one has a problem with that.”

The field’s slope also means that players are running uphill from first to second base.

“Once you make it around second base you’re home free,” Marilyn said.

A small oak tree is in the first base coach’s box. Its branches encroach on the field and often interfere with play.

“It’s kind of hard for me if I’m playing first base. They can just hit the tree and (the ball) can come back and hit my head,” said Ben Richardson, 10, of the South Salem Little League Mariners.

But the most famous ground rule is one only in play for the adult softball games.

“If you knock over the pitcher’s beer, it’s an automatic out,” Bacon said. “And we’ve had pitches hit so hard and smacked the pitcher’s beer can so it just explodes.

“And everybody knows that’s the rule,” he said. “That’s almost anti-religious to knock over somebody’s beer.”

The annual picnic has become a major event for the Bacon family, drawing more than 100 guests. The game is named in honor of Brian Bacon, who died in a motorcycle accident five years ago. Brian’s friends still travel from as far away as Idaho, Nevada and Virginia to participate.

“When Brian was killed, his friends probably made the difference between us making it and not making it,” Ed Bacon said. “Words cannot describe how devastating that was and his friends made the difference. And they continue to do it, and they continue to pay respects to Brian by coming.”

‘A lot of life’

The field has gotten a lot of use this year from the South Salem Mariners. The team was formed late in the season and because of a lack of fields in the area was last on the list for practice times at Judson Middle School.

“We couldn’t get any field time at the school … maybe one day a week,” said Hambelton, whose sons Michael and Matthew play for the team and husband Mike coaches. “We called Ed, who’s a friend of ours, and he said ‘absolutely.’ ”

The team has held every practice except one on the field. The players enjoy using the field, though it took some getting used to.

“I thought it was kind of weird because I had never seen a field like this before,” Mariner Franklin Blalock, 9, said.

“It’s different because it’s got a lot of life and other fields just have a fence and no trees and plants like this field does,” Jacob Rangel, 11, said. “Plant life, animal life. It’s like a little cool place to hang out.”

With all the games and practices played at the field in its 21 years, Bacon said he has never experienced a broken window at the house.

Despite all the hours it takes to maintain the field, Bacon doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

“There’s too much invested here, both in terms of time and money,” he said.

And that’s fine with Mike Hambelton.

“As long as I’m coaching, I’ll come practice out here,” he said. “As long as he keeps the field here, we’ll come out.”

About the field

Built: 1986

Bases: 55 feet apart

Features: Grass infield, stone drinking fountain, redwood benches, tree-lined base paths, garden in right field, laser-graded surface.

OBSTACLES: Pinot noir vineyard in left, oak tree with tire swing in center, wife Marilyn’s flower garden in right, tree branches hanging over first base.

Distance to oak tree in center field: 270 feet

Portfolio: Ducks earn historic win

Appeared in Salem Statesman Journal Jan. 7, 2007

Oregon beats top-ranked team for the first time since 1974

By CHRIS HAGAN

Statesman Journal

EUGENE — In the top row of the recently emptied Pit Crew section at McArthur Court, about a dozen yellow-clad fans hoisted their cell phones and cameras towards the ceiling, hoping to capture a picture of the scoreboard and proof of what they just saw.

Oregon 68, UCLA 66.

The No. 16 Ducks held off a late run by the No. 1 Bruins, getting their first victory against a top-ranked team since 1974.

“That was probably the biggest game in my three years here,” junior forward Maarty Leunen said. “We had a lot to prove, and this was a huge win for us to beat the number one team in the nation.”

The game was supposed to be a matchup of unbeaten teams, but Oregon wasn’t able to hold its end of the bargain, losing Friday to USC, 84-82.

But the Ducks came out as if they were the No. 1, unbeaten team.

Oregon Coach Ernie Kent started his small lineup, using point guards Aaron Brooks and Tajuan Porter. Unlike the USC game — when Oregon attempted 31 3-pointers — the Ducks guards attacked the basket, speeding past UCLA’s big men.

“They did a good job of driving, us, driving us,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said. “There’s no way to simulate their quickness, especially Brooks.”

The Oregon senior was perfect in the first half, scoring 16 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the field and six of six free throws.

“I thought Brooks was spectacular tonight,” Howland said. “He’s got outstanding talent and he used it today.”

After going back and forth, the Ducks took control early. With 3:30 gone in the first-half, Leunen pulled down a 3-point attempt, instead finding Bryce Taylor inside for a layup and a 9-8 lead. The Ducks would never trail again.

Oregon shot 70 percent from the field in the first half, compared to 36.4 percent for UCLA. The Oregon defense forced UCLA into nine 3-pointers, eight of which they missed, taking a 40-30 lead into the half.

But UCLA appeared ready to retake control in the second half. The Bruins started on a 8-0 run, getting within two at 40-38.

Brooks kept Oregon going, answering with seven points in seven minutes and extending the Ducks lead to nine with 10:41 left.

UCLA hung around. Arron Afflalo and Darren Collison, a combined 0-9 from the field in the first half, caught fire. The pair scored 24 of the Bruins 36 second-half points.

With just under three minutes left, down five at 64-58, the Bruins put one final run together. After an Affalo 3-pointer, Collison was fouled attempting one of his own. After hitting two of three, the Bruins were within three at 66-63

With 40 seconds left, Taylor tried to ice the game for the Ducks with a 3-pointer, but missed. Collison took the ball at the other end and tied the game at 66 with a 3-pointer.

“I just felt like I was open, but it probably wasn’t a smart play,” Taylor said. “It almost dropped. It’s one of those things looking back, I should have kicked it out so we could run some more time down, but you learn from those things.”

With fans seeing shades of the game at USC, the biggest player of the game came up big again.

Oregon moved the ball back down court and Brooks took-off to the right baseline, stopped and nailed a jumpshot with 12 seconds left. It was the final two of his game-high 25 points.

“I was dribbling down the baseline and I heard Collison call for a trap, so I wanted to shoot before they trapped me,” Brooks said. “I wanted to run some more time off the clock, but I was open so I just took it.”

The quick shot left UCLA with one last opportunity. Collison drove to the basket and had an open shot, but kicked it out to Josh Shipp to try for the win. Shipp wasn’t able to get off a clean shot with Leunen defending and time expired as the shot hit off the rim.

The already hysteric crowd exploded, rushing the court.

“It was just disbelief,” Brooks said. “I kept looking to see if there was a foul or something, but I saw everyone come running onto the court, so I was like ‘OK, the game’s over now, I guess I can celebrate.'”

The win is a huge lift to the Ducks after the loss to USC and a major statement for a team many said hadn’t faced a major test this season.

“This proves all the doubters wrong, who didn’t think we were a high-caliber team,” Taylor said.

It’s also huge for a team that has underachieved the last two seasons.

“For young men to go through what they’ve gone through, I think later on they will learn the toughness that they’ve developed,” Kent said. “My heart’s out to them because they’ve been through a lot and to their credit stuck in there with us and they’ve stuck there with each other.”

Now UCLA is in the same position Oregon was Friday, coming back from the end to an undefeated season. Howland said that though the loss is disappointing, there is still a long time until a champion is crowned in April.

“Bottomline is you never want to lose, but how you respond to losing and how you practice next week is very, very important to the rest of our season,” Howland said. “We’re 3-1 in the Pac-10, that’s what’s important.”

Next week the Ducks get their first real road test in the Pac-10, traveling to face Arizona State and No. 7 Arizona.