Coming into Monday, the Ducks had won their last 7 overtime games, dating back to a triple overtime defeat on the road at UTEP. The Anteaters would push the Ducks into an extra session for the second time this season. UCI had a last second chance to beat the Ducks but the Ducks survived UC-Irvine 69-67 to push their record to 10-3.
Joseph Young needed a 3 in overtime to push his point total into double digits, only scoring 11. The Ducks were led by a break out performance from Dwayne Benjamin who tallied 18. Dillon Brooks and Elgin Cook had 15 and 14 respectively as Alex Young led the Anteaters with 12 in a losing effort.
Trailing by three with less than 10 seconds on the clock, Oregon looked to an unlikely hero to pull them even. Elgin Cook drove the base line and kicked out to Dwayne Benjamin who rose awkwardly and canned a three from the corner to tie the game with 7 seconds remaining. Irvine would not score and the Ducks and Anteaters would have to play an extra 5 minutes.
Oregon had to overcome 18 turnovers and 30% shooting from behind the arc as they had to overcome a double digit deficit to eventually win the game. The way Oregon came out of the gates, it appeared this year’s contest may resemble the last time these teams played with the Ducks jumping out to a 9-2 lead. Irvine would not go away though and chipped away at the Duck lead. A 13-0 run which spanned half time gave the Anteaters their biggest lead of the game at 37-26.
It was Oregon’s turn to chip away at the lead and would work their way back in, tying the score at 50. Irvine responded with 5 straight points before Dwayne Benjamin hit the first of his two second half threes to keep Oregon in the game with less than three minutes.
It was an uninspiring effort from the Ducks but the silver lining is that even when Oregon’s main threat isn’t producing, there are role players who can step up and take over a game. Benjamin had played poorly over the last few games and Coach Dana Altman commented that he just needed to find his stride. He picked the right game to do it as Oregon needed all of his 18 points to come away with the win.
Oregon’s next challenge will be the Civil War against Oregon State. The Beavers are much improved from a season ago and even then, the Beavs gave Oregon trouble in both of their match ups.
Sloppy Ducks Survive in OT Against Anteaters
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