Ducks Defense Steals The Show

EUGENE- It was a record-setting night at Matthew Knight Arena, but not in the way many would've expected. During a season where defense has cost them more games than it's won, Oregon set an arena record for steals in their 78-66 win over USC.

EUGENE- It was a record-setting night at Matthew Knight Arena, but not in the way many would've expected. During a season where defense has cost them more games than it's won, Oregon set an arena record for steals in their 78-66 win over USC.

The Ducks full-court pressure was simply too much for the Trojans to handle, and the result was 16 Oregon steals, one short of a school record.

"That's was our main concept was to turn them over. We felt if we put pressure on them, they would turn the ball over. That's one thing that we did well," said guard Joseph Young.

The steals led to 19 points off of turnovers and energized the Ducks, who trailed 38-34 at the half.

"On a night we didn't shoot the ball really well, I thought our defense, the press and our points off of turnovers was obviously difference in the game," said coach Dana Altman.

The Ducks shot just 40-percent and made only 6-for-24 three-point shots, but still managed to get off the schnide at home, after losing their first three in league play.

Young once again provided the scoring punch, leading the Ducks with 21 points, for his second 20 plus scoring effort. But, Young also fueled the defensive pressure, finishing with six steals after five on Thursday.

Young stole the ball on each of USC's first two possessions.

"It's always important to get a win. Just the way that we played, it makes it more satisfying, knowing that we were making process in that area," said Jason Calliste, who had 18 points. "I think a lot of guys understand the concept of defense now, and we're playing a lot harder. We just a unit now, before it felt like we were five separate people out there."

Altman was unsure if they'll amp up the use of full-court pressure from this point forward, noting that it can lead to overextended positioning.

That was still an issue Saturday, as the Trojans, despite the 22 turnovers, shot nearly 50-percent from the field.

USC held the lead at the half, but Oregon outscored them 26-to-8 in the first 10 minutes of the second and coasted from there.

"The first half we started out with intensity, then we got comfortable. The second half that was our mindset to come out with intensity from the beginning, and that's what made the game," Young said.

A game after going scoreless for the first time in his Oregon career, Mike Moser chipped in with 13 points and six rebounds. He made 6-of-10 shots from the field with no turnovers, after going 0-for-5 with five against the Bruins Thursday.

 The lack of production from the power forward position has been one of the keys to the team's success all season, according to Altman.

"When we were winning games, Elgin and Mike were by far are most strongest, productive spot. It really tapered off here lately, so it was really great to see," he said.

The Ducks three wins have come against the bottom three teams in the league, who hold a combined 6-21 record in Pac-12 play.


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