Outwit, Outlast, Outplay

Coming into today's game, the Oregon State Beavers had not defeated the Oregon Ducks in Civil War basketball since 1999. Saturday, in Corvallis, the Beavers out-hustled, out-rebounded and in the end, out-scored the Ducks, beating their foe from down I-5, 90-81. <br><br> Oregon State's J.S. Nash, center, gets to the ball between Oregon's Luke Jackson, right, and James Davis, left, during the second half of Oregon State's 90-81 win on Saturday, in Corvallis, Ore. (AP Photo/Karl Maasdam)

Like the UCLA game of last weekend, Oregon (6-4, 1-2) had two cold spells kill them. The first opened the game. OSU started out with a 12-2 lead and Oregon had to fight to get back in it. Then, the Ducks went arctic when it mattered most. Oregon was unable to score in the final three minutes of the game when Oregon State (7-6, 1-2) put them away.

"We shot ourselves in the foot," Oregon Head Coach, Ernie Kent, told OSN.

The final cold spell might have been due to the tremendous play of Oregon forward Luke Jackson. Jackson finished the night with a career high 39 points and 16 rebounds but because of those great numbers, many other Ducks simply stood around and waited for Jackson to score.

In the final minutes, Oregon State made a very smart move and went into a zone, keeping Jackson from penetrating and the other Ducks couldn't find their touch.

"We stopped moving and getting other guys involved and became very one dimensional in our offense," Kent, told OSN.

The Ducks did have guard James Davis finish with 17 points and center Ian Crosswhite score 12. Oregon State, on the other hand, had great ball movement and had many players contribute. Forward David Lucas was a one man wrecking crew in the second half. He scored 22 of his team high 24 points in the final period. Oregon couldn't find a big man who would stop Lucas on the offensive end. The junior from Tigard wasn't Oregon's only worry though, guard Chris Stephens, from Portland's Madison High School killed Oregon from outside. The sophomore finished with 17 points. J.S. Nash and Lamar Hurd finished with 17 and 13 points respectively.

At points in the second half it looked like the Luke and Lucas show as the two forwards went back and forth at both ends. Lucas, though, came out with the bigger performance as he enabled the Beaver offense to open up and create opportunities for his teammates.

Oregon also had a tough time on the boards. If it weren't for Luke Jackson's 16, Oregon would have finished with 17 rebounds in the game. Oregon's big men only accounted for eight rebounds. "We've got to get this team to block out again," Kent told OSN.

Not only did Oregon's big men fail to rebound, or play defense but they failed to contribute in any other aspect of the game. The Ducks had only one blocked shot in the game and the big men only accounted for one of Oregon's dismal 10 assists.

Defensively, the Ducks struggled to guard anyone off the dribble or in OSU's set offense. Oregon State's 90 points are the most given up to a Duck opponent this season. The Beavers shot 47 percent from the floor, not an outstanding number, but their rebounding allowed them to get a number of second chances inside.

"This game came down to defense, toughness in the paint and rebounding the basketball," Kent said. "That's where we failed and where Oregon State beat us."

Luke Jackson was Oregon's bright spot tonight, though. The senior Wooden Award Candidate's performance kept the Ducks in the game when they started to fall apart. He went 14-14 from the line, two off of a Duck single-game record. His 39 points were also four away from Greg Ballard's 43 from the 1977 Duck win against Oral Roberts.

Jackson's teammates can't continue to rely on him to score in such huge numbers. Only six other times in Oregon history have players scored more than 39 points and only one was more recent than 1977.

The Ducks will have to continue to work hard moving the ball as they will continue to be without starting point guard Aaron Brooks. Brooks had surgery this week on his broken hand and is expected to miss six to eight weeks.

Next up for the Ducks will be the Washington schools. The Washington Huskies will face off with the Ducks on Thursday night in Mac Court. That game will be Oregon's first home game since the win over Santa Clara on December17th.

This coming weekend will be huge for the Ducks if they want to stay alive in the eyes of the NCAA Selection Committee. Another loss like the OSU game and at the end of the season Oregon could be saying the dreaded three letters, NIT.

Stats from www.GoDucks.com

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