It was all good until the beginning the second half and before you knew it, the Oregon men were doing all they could to shake the dirt being shoveled on them as California buried the Ducks with a torrid 18-3 run to start the second stanza on their way to an overwhelming 77-60 Golden Bear victory.
Led by three players who scored in double figures, including sophomore guard Allen Crabbe's team-leading 26 points and 12 rebounds, Cal split their road series against the Oregon schools and looked closer to the team that was picked to finish atop the conference by many national pundits.
"He got one open look early in the first half," said Oregon forward Olu Ashaolu of Crabbe, who only had three points at halftime before erupting in the second half. "But for a shooter -- and Devoe [Joseph] can tell you -- once you get that first open look, that rim kind of opens up and unfortunately we let him get that in the second half. He couldn't miss."
While Crabbe's tremendous performance will be the major takeaway from the Ducks' loss, the efforts of Cal guards Jorge Gutierrez and Justin Cobbs shouldn't go unnoticed. Each player chipped in 18 and 15 points respectively, while combining on 10 assists; two more than the Ducks had as a team the entire game.
"Their three perimeter players are as good as any in the conference," said Oregon head coach Dana Altman. "If you can't slow those three guys down, you're going to be in trouble. We knew that going in."
Points scored by Cal in the paint and tough perimeter defense against Oregon shooters also doomed the Ducks Sunday afternoon, as the Golden Bears doubled up Oregon's points in the paint, outscoring them 40-20, while holding Oregon to only 38.3 percent shooting from the field for the entire game.
"They're a good defensive team and they played strong," said Joseph, who finished with a team-high 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting. "They fought through screens and made it tough for us."
"They really clogged up the middle," added Ashaolu. "It was real hard to get anything easy inside. They really killed us on the inside and with their scoring today. They're a strong, physical team and we didn't match that tonight."
The Ducks now tackle a short week of practices before heading out on the road to face the Arizona schools this upcoming Thursday and Saturday. Oregon figures to be shorthanded too, as sophomore guard Johnathan Loyd left Sunday's game versus Cal with an injury to his left knee that required him to be carried off the floor by two fellow teammates.
"I didn't get a chance to check with Clay [Jamieson] to see [how he was]," said Altman of Loyd. "I know he banged knees, but I don't know how serious it is. I'll have to check with Clay tonight."
The first stop on Oregon's road trip to the Arizona schools is Tempe, where the Ducks will take on Arizona State. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. Pacific and the game can be seen live on ROOT Sports (FSN).
Follow Chris Courtney on Twitter at eDuckCCourtney
Tale of Two Halves in Oregon Loss
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