Back in early January UCLA smothered Oregon State 79-35 in Los Angeles. But when the two teams met again in Corvallis last Friday night Oregon State had won eight straight AAWU games. The Bruins, hurt by injuries—Edgar Lacey was out with a hairline fracture of the knee—had lost first place to the eager Beavers. Coach Paul Valenti figured he had to keep UCLA from shooting into an early lead, so his team set out to control the ball and play tight defense. Attacking patiently, Oregon State easily broke UCLA's zone press, yielding only one turnover in the first half. Sophomore Loy Peterson (right) shot in 19 points, Charlie White got 17 and the Beavers won 64-51. The next night Southern California's John Block tore apart Oregon State's proud defense for 30 points and Southern Cal beat the Beavers 70-60. But UCLA lost again, too, to Oregon 79-72. "I'd say that eliminated us from the race," said Johnny Wooden sadly. But, he insisted, "at full strength, we're easily the best team in the conference, and I think we would have had a good go at defending our national title." It is hardly likely UCLA, with four league losses, will get the chance.