The story couldn't have been much different moving from the first half to the second, as the Ducks surrendered a 16-point lead over the Cal Golden Bears in the first frame to lose 81-71 in the opening game of their weekend series against the Bay Area schools. Despite shooting 57.1 percent and holding a 45-34 lead at halftime, Oregon had frustrating difficulty finding success against Cal in the second half, as the Golden Bears made it a point of emphasis to clamp down on Joevan Catron in the post and force the Ducks to make baskets from the perimeter.
"It looked like a quadruple team at times," remarked Catron, who only scored three of his 14 points in the second half. "They got their hands on a lot of balls and we turned the ball over in the second half and they got a couple of layups."
Aside from Cal's noticeable attention given to Catron in the low block in the second half, Oregon junior forward Tyrone Nared believes the Ducks also became enamored with the perimeter shot; failing to execute their offensive sets in part because of their outstanding shooting success in the first half.
"I think we got a little too comfortable tonight," admitted Nared who finished with a career high 16 points to lead the Ducks on Thursday night. "We kind of fell in love with the shot today, so instead of getting points inside and pushing it back out, we were just forcing a lot of shots."
As good as Cal was in the second half defensively, they were even better on offense. After posting an impressive 48.1 shooting percentage from the field in the first stanza, the Golden Bears went supernova after halftime, converting on 62.5 percent of their field goals.
"I'm very disappointed in the way we played that second half," said Oregon head coach Dana Altman. "I thought they turned the momentum with easy baskets to start the second half and they got their offense going...62 percent (from the field), 47 points (in the half), those are all really bad stats."
Jorge Gutierrez led Cal with 23 points, with Allen Crabbe and Brandon Smith chipping in 19 and 18 points, respectively.
The Ducks sink to a game below .500 in conference play with their loss Thursday. With an opportunity to cling to a spot in the top half of the conference heading in to Oregon's final regular season series against the Arizona schools on the road next week, Altman realizes that a quick turnaround is paramount against Stanford this Saturday in order to keep pace with the rest of the conference.
"We've gotta bounce back and play and we don't have much time to do it," stated Altman. "It's gonna be a big game for us and we got a lot of work to do."
Tip-off against the Cardinal is set for 3 pm Pacific. Live TV coverage of the game can be found on OSN/CSNNW.
Oregon's 57.1 percent shooting in the first half was the Ducks' second-best figure in the first half this season and the best opening frame in Pac-10 play...The Ducks fell to 10-4 when leading at halftime...UO's 16-point lead is the largest it has held in a loss this season...Joevan Catron (14 points) reached double figures for the 20th time this season, his seventh double-digit scoring effort in the past eight games...Tyrone Nared led Oregon in scoring for the second time this season, the last occurrence was against Texas Southern on Nov. 23, 2010...E.J. Singler (11 points) scored in double figures for the 19th time this season (fifth time in the last six games)...Garrett Sim (12 points) recorded his 10th double-figure scoring effort and his first since scoring 13 against Washington State on Feb. 3.
Follow Chris Courtney on Twitter at eDuckCCourtney
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