Ducks Succumb To Spartan Strength

After squeaking out close victories over their previous three opponents, the Oregon men failed to muster the kind of magic necessary to win their fourth straight, falling to San Jose State 75-72 Saturday afternoon at McArthur Court.

For the first time all season, the Ducks led their opponent at halftime. Unfortunately for Oregon fans, that meant next nothing, as the Ducks were handed their first loss of the season by an upstart San Jose Spartan squad. Powered by a 49-39 rebound advantage (including 19 offensive boards), the Spartans were able to capitalize on Oregon's lack of size and effort, despite the return this afternoon of Duck junior forward Jeremy Jacob. After the game, Oregon head coach Dana Altman said he was "extremely disappointed", saying that he hoped the week of preparation leading to the game would have helped pay dividends.

"We got beat on the boards," Altman said plainly. "They set the tone in the first 10 minutes of the game with their offensive rebounding."

"They just 'out-toughed' us," said Jacob, who scored 9 points and grabbed 4 rebounds in his return Saturday. "Coach told us before that coming in, they averaged around 12 offensive boards a game and we just weren't buying in. We've got to do better at that."

It wasn't all doom and gloom for the Ducks today however, as they held a 39-34 advantage at halftime, paced by Teondre Williams' 10 first half points. Though Williams was shut out after halftime, Oregon senior forward Joevan Catron came through with another tremendous effort, dumping in 25 points along with 9 rebounds in 33 minutes of action. In fact, the Ducks had an opportunity to send the game to overtime with 2.1 seconds left after San Jose State converted a critical three-point play just moments before. A play was drawn up for Catron to spot up at the top of the key beyond the three-point line, however the inbound pass was deflected, as Jay-R Strowbridge scrambled to throw up a desperation three-point attempt that just barely missed.

"It hit the defender and time pretty much ran out," described Catron of the final play that ended the game. "It hit his head. I guess you could say he made a good play with his head."

Defensively, mental lapses in the second half caught up with Oregon. Despite holding Spartan guard Adrian Oliver (who averaged 29.5 in two games leading up to Saturday) to only 2 points in the first half, Oliver found his rhythm in the second period, scoring 17 points to finish tied with Keith Shamburger for a team high 19.

"We did a pretty good job on Oliver in the first half," admitted Altman, "but in the second half we didn't do nearly as good a job. We had some bad turnovers, bad shots, and I thought we had a better idea of what we wanted to do, but obviously I didn't do my job."

"We got a lot of work to do...fundamentally we've got so far to go."

Odds and Ends:

Oregon junior guard Malcolm Armstead turned in his poorest performance of the season as he finished the game 1-of-10 from the field, scoring 3 points to along with 6 assists and 6 turnovers. An ill-advised three-point attempt on the Ducks second to last possession of the game only made matters worse, as it drew the ire of Altman during the game, who discussed his dissatisfaction with his point guard's play after the game ended.

"He's got to execute our offense a lot better than what he's doing right now," said Altman of Armstead. "He's not making good basketball plays, but he'll get it figured out. He just has a long ways to go. I think the thing that hurt him the most was that he missed a few shots early that were wide open and it just kind of messed with him."


With SJSU leading 24-22 with 7:45 in the first half, the Spartans had 15 more field goal attempts than Oregon (29-14). In fact, the Spartans had missed more shots than the Ducks had attempted. At the time, the Ducks were 6-of-14 for 42.9 percent – the Spartans were 10-of-29 for 34.5 percent. SJSU held a 19-13 rebounding advantage at that point in the game...Joevan Catron played in his 100th career game as a Duck on Saturday. It was also the 61st career start for the senior forward from Phoenix, Ill...Catron once again led the Ducks in scoring, having done so in all four of UO's games this season. It was just the seventh time in his time at UO that he's led the team in scoring. Catron has scored 20 or more points in three of the four games this season (he has just four career 20-point efforts)...Garrett Sim scored 11 points in playing a team-high 34 minutes. It was the first time Sim, a junior guard from Portland, Ore., scored in double figures since UO's win over Idaho on Dec. 22, 2009 (he had 14 points in 28 minutes as a starter)...Teondre Williams scored all 10 of his points in the first half, marking the third time in four games that he has scored 10 or more points. Williams, a junior guard from Atlanta, Ga., finished 4-of-6 from the field and 2-of-3 on 3-pointers.

Follow Chris Courtney on Twitter at eDuckCCourtney

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