After dropping a pair in Washington, the Ducks got just what the doctor ordered in a visit from USC. The Trojans have not played well over the last couple seasons and the Ducks needed a win to stay competitive in the conference.
At times, it looked like Oregon was going to run away from the Trojans, particularly with a 13 point half time lead, but USC continued to chip away behind 16 points from both Julian Jacobs and Katin Reinhardt. USC tied the game at 61 with 5:40 remaining but the Ducks were clutch from the free throw line down the stretch as they finally pulled away for a 75-67 win.
“I feel like we could have beat this team by a lot more. So we are going to come in to practice tomorrow, ready to work on our defense. We got a little lax after getting ahead by so much,” said Jalil Abdul-Bassitt.
Oregon came out of the gates firing as they converted their first seven possessions to points, jumping out to a 16-2 lead. USC would respond though with a 12-3 run of their own to keep the Ducks within grasp. Joseph Young scored 13 of his game high 19 in the first half and Abdul-Bassitt had a trio of threes to eventually stretch the Oregon lead back out to 13 by the break. Young also became the 33rd player in Oregon history to tally 1000 points as a Duck.
Oregon struggled from the field in the second half, as they shot only 24% from the field and only make on 7 attempts from behind the arc. The difference in the game was the 23 attempts the Ducks got from the free throw line. They were able to attack the basket and convert from the line while the offense seemed to bog down. After scoring 11 fast break points in the first half, USC held the Ducks without a fast break basket in the second half, as they were forced to try and shoot over the USC defense.
Defensively, the Ducks struggled to stop the Trojans inside. Jordan Bell wasn’t able to block shots as he was in the first half, Trojans getting by him and to the hoop early in the half. 20 of USC’s 36 second half points came in the paint while Oregon only managed 8 from the inside.
“Joe [Young] missed some good looks. We all missed some good looks that we normally hit, Elgin misses a dunk. We missed some shots that I thought we should have hit,” said Altman.
Oregon faces UCLA on Saturday afternoon. The Bruins dropped the first game of their road trip to the Beavers and seemed to struggle with zone defense. They will be looking to manage a split and if the Ducks do not play a full 40 minutes, they could find themselves on the wrong end of that decision. As coach Altman stated, he would settle for half that.
“We’re not even close to 40 minutes. We would like to get to 20 and then work our way up. We have got 4 freshmen who are playing a lot of minutes who have no idea what it is like to play 40 minutes. Right now 40 minutes is a dream,” said Altman.
Ducks win from the charity stripe
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