Ducks Sloppy in Third Straight Win

Despite turning the ball over 19 times and managing only nine assists as a team, the Oregon men moved to 14-5 overall, 5-2 in conference after outlasting USC, 65-62, at Matthew Knight Arena Thursday night.

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there was nothing pretty about Oregon's 65-62 win Thursday night over the USC Trojans at Matthew Knight Arena. Though the Ducks were the beneficiary of 18 points from their bench, the Trojans punished Oregon in the paint (outscoring the Ducks 32-20) and capitalized on 19 Duck turnovers, holding a 19-5 advantage in points scored off Oregon mistakes. In spite of all that however, the Ducks out-rebounded USC (34-27) and managed to shoot a better overall percentage from the floor, improving to 13-1 this season when they post a better shooting percentage than their opponent.

While satisfied with the win, after the game, Oregon head coach Dana Altman appeared less than pleased with his squad's overall performance.

"You're fortunate if you have nine assists and 19 turnovers and still win the game," admitted Altman. "There was a lot of bad offense and anytime you give somebody 17 more shots (USC attempted 61 shots compared to Oregon's 44), with that advantage points off turnovers, 19 to 5, you're fortunate to win.

"We know we have to play better to get wins down the road."

USC's Maurice Jones led all scorers with 22 points.

On the positive side of things, Oregon senior guard Garrett Sim led the Ducks in scoring for the sixth time this season, scoring 20 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including 4-of-6 from three-point land. Alongside him, senior guard Devoe Joseph notched his fifth consecutive game in double-figures scoring, contributing 16 points.

Of particular importance was both players' performance from the free throw line in the waning moments of Thursday's contest. Sim and Joseph were a combined perfect 12-for-12 from the charity stripe for the game, as both players demonstrated a calmness under pressure as the Trojans fouled in an attempt to extend the game and their chances to secure their first conference victory.

"Coming down the stretch, we definitely wanted to get the ball in the foul shooters hands," said Sim. "We did that and we hit free throws down the stretch."

"The team knows and we know that [Garrett and I are] our two top free throw shooters without E.J. on the court," added Joseph. "We just know that you want to get the ball in those situations to your best free throws shooters, just like any team would treat [the situation]."

With their third straight win under their belts, Sim admitted that he and his teammates are gaining more and more confidence as they march through a competitive remaining Pac-12 schedule, saying that it was good to squeeze out a win despite a less than stellar overall team performance. On Saturday, the Ducks face a mercurial UCLA bunch who has battled its fair share of off-court issues, though isn't short on talent. Known for their physical style of play, Altman acknowledged that his team will have to match the Bruins fire and intensity, particularly in the paint, in order to extend their win streak to four.

"[UCLA] is a physical team because of their size," admitted Altman. "We're going to have to do a tremendous job on the boards and we're going to have to be physical inside because they are a big, physical team...I think rebounding is going to be really big and we're going to have to do a better job of making plays for our teammates."

The Ducks face UCLA this Saturday at Matthew Knight Arena at 1:00 p.m. A live telecast of the game can be found on ROOT Sports (FSN).

Follow Chris Courtney on Twitter at eDuckCCourtney

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