Ducks Win As Cougars Go Cold

After the Washington game earlier this week, Oregon Coach Ernie Kent said that the Washington State game may put some fans to sleep. Wazzu's deliberate style of offense nearly did just that but the Ducks stayed awake and eased to a 60-45 win in Mac Court. <br><br> Oregon's Luke Jackson celebrates the first of his five 3-pointers, which tied his career-high for a single game, during the first half of Oregon's 60-45 win against Washington State, at McArthur Court. (AP Photo/Brian Davies)

After one half of play, the Ducks led the Cougars 35-18 and it was ugly. Not necessarily ugly for the Ducks, but not a pretty half for the squad from Pullman. Oregon's defense dominated the Washington State offense holding them to 7-28 shooting from the floor and the Ducks only gave up 12 rebounds.

Oregon (8-4, 3-2), on the other hand, shot the ball at a 54 percent clip from the floor and distributing the ball very well in the half. Oregon had ten assists on 13 field goals and grabbed 24 boards. The question circulating throughout the old gym was when is Oregon's offense going to take over and end the game?

At the start of the second half the Ducks offense came alive for about nine minutes. Luke Jackson, Andre Joseph and Jay Anderson got the men of Oregon going with their hot shooting. The Ducks jumped out to a 26 point lead at 58-32 with 10:00 left and looked like they could keep that pace up for the rest of the game. Then, the Ducks went stagnate. After shooting the lights out for those nine minutes they couldn't find their touch.

The Ducks went just over nine minutes before their next point; something that may have been caused by WSU's slow down offense.

Washington State (8-8, 2-4) controlled the pace all game long and it was that pace, combined with Kent's desire to run a slow offense of his own that slowed Oregon's offensive tear.

"That's the best half court offense we've run all year long," Kent said. "A lot of what we did was run a lot of patient offense. We stopped quick shooting the ball so much. We really grinded it out in the half court."

The Ducks also tried various lineups and gave some players a chance to get in who don't normally see that much action.

During those nine minutes when Oregon didn't score, Washington State stayed in their very slow offense and only scored 11 points. The Cougs only cut Oregon's lead to fifteen in that stretch. Their lack of offense didn't just have to do with the slow sets though; they were unable to hit shots with any regularity.

"We did have relatively open shots but we really struggled to put anything in the basket," Washington State Coach Dick Bennett said.

The Ducks found that they could play a really slow game and still get a win.

"Washington State's style of play allowed us to grow as a basketball team," Kent said. "It forced us mentally to be accountable for taking care of the basketball, making good plays, taking good shots and playing outstanding defense."

Oregon was able to get some solid offensive production out of the entire team. They finished the game shooting nearly 57 percent from the floor. Forward Luke Jackson led the Ducks with 19 points in 28 minutes. Andre Joseph and James Davis had 14 and 10 points respectively.

After a solid first half on the boards, Oregon fell apart in the second half and let WSU out rebound them by 10 in the period. The Ducks finished the game with 34 boards compared to WSU's 32 but 18 of those were offensive.

"(Rebounding is) something we really have to worry about," Joseph said. "We need to pick that up. It will be hard for us to win on the road like that."

Washington State, for the second time on this road trip, finished without any players in double figures. Shami Gill led the Cougs with nine points and 13 boards, seven on the offensive glass. Star guard Marcus Moore had only five points on 2-9 shooting from the floor.

Next, the Ducks will travel to Arizona State for a showdown with the Sun Devils. The two squads will tip-off at 7:15pm on Thursday, January 22nd. This pair of games in the desert will go a long way in showing what kind of a team the Ducks will be.

Washington State coach Dick Bennett thinks that Oregon will wind up a very solid team. "They will be a team to be reckoned with," he said.

Stats from www.GoDucks.com.

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