Ducks Return Home With Win

If the Oregon State game last Saturday showed fans how much Oregon misses Aaron Brooks, this game shows fans that the team can survive, at least for a while, without him. After a shaky first half, the Oregon Ducks found their shooting touch and put the Washington Huskies away, 84-74 at Mac Court in Eugene. <br><br> Oregon's Luke Jackson, foreground, works inside against Washington's Brandon Roy. Jackson led Oregon with 24 points in their 84-74 victory. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

The Ducks are normally known for their great ball movement, but in the Civil War, that was not the case. Oregon became a one dimensional team and finished the game with only ten assists. Tonight, it was totally different as the Ducks finished the first half with ten assists and when the final horn sounded, Oregon had 19 assists on 26 made baskets.

That ball movement, though, came under tremendous pressure from the Washington defenders. The Huskies played the entire game overplaying passing lanes, running full court man-to-man defense and just about any other high pressure tactic in the book.

"There aren't many teams in this Pac-10 that are going to pressure you like that," Oregon Head Coach, Ernie Kent, said.

(PHOTO RIGHT) Oregon fans heckle Washington's Nate Robinson during warm ups at McArthur Court in Eugene, Ore. Thursday, Jan. 15, 2004, with cutouts of actor Gary Coleman in apparent reference to Robinson's height. Robinson, a guard for the Huskies, is listed as 5 feet, 9 inches in the media guide. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

Although Oregon (7-4, 2-2) never really had trouble breaking the press, there were times, especially in the first half, when it was obvious that there wasn't a true point guard on the floor. There were needless turnovers and moments when it didn't look like Oregon was totally in their flow.

In the second half, the Ducks were really able to get their game going. With Luke Jackson, Brandon Lincoln and James Davis all taking turns at the point, the Ducks went on a 19-4 run over five minutes that got the crowd into the game and almost took the Huskies (5-8, 0-5) out of it. At the start of the run the Ducks were only up 56-54 and by the end it was 75-58 and only 5:23 was left on the clock.

Jackson had 11 of his game-high 24 points during that hot streak. Inside the streak Oregon started really going to the hoop, which got the Huskies in foul trouble. Jackson, Jay Anderson and Ian Crosswhite, among others got to the line, which is where the majority of the 19 points in the run came from.

(PHOTO LEFT) Oregon's Andre Joseph, left, and Washington's Nate Robinson hit the floor for a loose ball during the first half at McArthur Court in Eugene, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 15, 2004. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

It was Jackson, though, who seemed to be there throughout the second half, either stopping Husky momentum or putting them further away. Not only did he get those 24 big points but he also had seven assists and seven boards. His 24 points gives him 1,566 career points which moves him into seventh on the all-time Oregon list ahead of former Denver Nuggets center Blair Rasmussen who had 1,554. Jackson's next target in the record books will be Orlando Williams and his 1,634 points.

"He's relentless; he's a good basketball player," Washington Head Coach, Lorenzo Romar, said of Luke Jackson.

The hot shooting in the 19-4 run was nothing new in this game for the Ducks. In the first half, Oregon shot a superb 53.6 percent from the floor and 53.8 percent from beyond the arc. For the game the Ducks finished with a 52 percent field goal number and 45 percent from long range.

That three point number will help Oregon to continue to rise in the three point field goal percentage leader board. Prior to this game, the Ducks were second nationally to Connecticut on hitting long balls. The Ducks were at just under 43 percent per game and Uconn was at exactly 43 percent.

(PHOTO RIGHT) Washington's Brandon Roy, center, goes up for a rebound against Oregon's Luke Jackson, left, and Brandon Lincoln during the second half at McArthur Court in Eugene, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 15, 2004. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

It was that three point shooting, especially by James Davis, which kept the Ducks in the game in the early going. With just over 12 minutes to go in the first half, the Ducks were down 16-12. That was before James Davis found the zone. Davis hit four three pointers inside of four minutes to fire up the crowd and get the team going. The senior guard finished with 19 points off of 6-8 field goal shooting.

"I get excited when I see him wide open," Jackson said of Davis.

Washington found their own hot shooter in forward Brandon Roy. The six foot six sophomore from Seattle finished 8-10 from the floor for 18 points in 33 minutes.

The Ducks were aided by Ian Crosswhite's 14 points and Andre Joseph's 11. Jay Anderson added nine in the effort.

(PHOTO LEFT) Washington's Bobby Jones cuts through the Oregon defense for a basket in the first half at McArthur Court in Eugene, Ore. Thursday, Jan. 15, 2004. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

Next up for Oregon will be the new-look Washington State Cougars. With former Wisconsin coach Dick Bennett at the helm, the Cougars are playing more of a slow down style this year but still have explosive Marcus Moore as their focal point. Kent feels that he will be a tough match-up for Duck defenders.

"He's a threat at any time to shoot the deep range three, to drive and he has a tremendous fade away game," Kent said.

The Cougars fell to the Oregon State Beavers tonight in Corvallis, 52-41. In this new slowdown style, WSU finished the first half with only 16 points. The Ducks and Cougars will tipoff on Saturday at 5:15.

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