Ducks Down Huskies, Complete Weekend Sweep

With confidence soaring, the Oregon men answered the bell once again, defeating the 19th ranked Washington Huskies 81-76 on Saturday afternoon to complete an important weekend sweep of the Washington schools.

In only a month's time, the Oregon men's basketball team has undergone an extreme makeover; shedding the inconsistent and stilted play for confidence and efficiency which has resulted in five wins over their last seven games. Against 20th ranked Washington Saturday afternoon at Matt Knight Arena, the Ducks continued their inspiring play, dropping their rivals from the north 81-76 in a physical game that on paper should have favored the Huskies.

"Those guys are humongous," chuckled Oregon forward Tyrone Nared who finished with 14 points and six rebounds.

"It just comes down to toughness. You gotta box out and work as a team. Tip outs, diving on the floor...that helps out little by little."

Forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning lead the Huskies with 21 points.

Despite getting outrebounded 35-31 over the course of the game, the Ducks actually beat the Huskies on the glass in the second half, snaring 19 rebounds to Washington's 14. As Oregon scrapped to hang with Washington in the paint, defensively, the Ducks effort in that department was difference in the game.

"The turnovers and the points off turnovers were huge," said Oregon head coach Dana Altman, as the Ducks scored 26 points off 15 Washington turnovers.

"Malcolm's (Armstead) five steals really were a big factor. The activity and guys doubling down in the post and getting steals...those were a big factor in our favor."

Joevan Catron was the bell cow for the Ducks once again, leading the team with 20 points and nine rebounds to along with three steals and two assists. It's the 14th time Catron has led the Ducks in scoring this season and his seventh 20-point output of the year.

"You notice, when the ball goes through Joevan, a lot good things happen," remarked Altman. "We've gotta keep getting him the ball...he's just missed two double-double (games) back-to-back. He's playing and we're riding him pretty hard."

With two consecutive wins over two of the arguably most talented teams in the Pac-10, the Ducks head out on to the road to face UCLA and USC, hoping to extend their winning streak to four before coming back to Eugene for a three-game home stand. Weeks ago the outlook for the rest of the season appeared decidedly bleak, but after their latest victory to cap off an impressive seven game stretch, Catron and the Ducks aren't ready to relinquish any of the good vibrations they've generated.

"This (win) is huge," said the Chicago native. "We've got a little bit of momentum right now, so we're just gonna try to keep rollin'."

"It's just another win, but it's just good to get a sweep going in to next weekend."

The Ducks square off against UCLA next Thursday night in Los Angeles. Tip-off is set for 7:30 pm PST and can be seen on live on OSN/CSNNW.

Notes: Oregon's last victory against a ranked opponent also came against Washington. The Ducks beat the then 17th-ranked Huskies, 90-79, in Seattle on Jan. 2 2010...Oregon's 81 points was a season-high point total for Pac-10 games...The Ducks used the same starting lineup for the fifth consecutive game (Sim, Loyd, Singler, Nared, Catron). Oregon has a 4-1 record with that lineup this season. UO has used nine different starting lineups in 23 games this season...In eight career games against the Huskies, Catron has scored in double figures on six occasions...Catron also had a team-high nine rebounds, leading UO in that category for the 13th time in 2010-11 (38th career time). Catron was one rebound shy of his third double-double of the season (15 pts and 10 rebs vs Portland State, 20 pts and 10 rebs at Washington)...Tyrone Nared reached double figures in scoring for the fifth time this season (third time since conference play began). He made his fourth straight appearance in the starting lineup...Jay-R Strowbridge added another double-figure scoring effort off the bench, his fourth in the last five outings...E.J. Singler had 10+ points for the second straight game (16th time this season)...Malcolm Armstead, who again matched a career-high with five steals versus Washington, has 113 career steals and remains No. 9 on UO's all-time list. Armstead is just one shy of matching Terrell Brandon who ranks No. 8 all-time with 114 steals in 57 career games.

Follow Chris Courtney on Twitter at eDuckCCourtney

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