Ducks Hold On For Win

Sometimes one player takes the team on his shoulders and lead them to a win. Other times, the winning team will be just that, a team. Tonight, at Mac Court in Eugene, the Oregon Ducks put together a great team effort and beat the Cal Bears, 68-56 and remain unbeaten at home. <br><br> Oregon's Ian Crosswhite, right, works inside against California's Leon Powe during the second half Thursday, Jan. 29, 2004, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

There wasn't one Duck ballplayer who stood out as being the difference in the game. From the big men playing great defense on California's star center Amit Tamir, to the guards blowing past the Bear pressure in the backcourt, everyone got involved.

The Bears (8-9, 4-4) were hurt tremendously by the lack of offensive output by Tamir. The native of Israel averaged 25.3 points per game in his last four games against the men in green. Tonight he was held without a field goal and only scored two points.

Oregon (10-5, 5-3) rotated Jay Anderson, Ian Crosswhite and Mitch Platt on Tamir. The Ducks denied him from getting the ball much of the game. When he did get the ball, the guards and forwards did a great job flying over for double teams.

"My whole game plan was to not let him touch the ball," Anderson said.

When Tamir's offense didn't appear early on, Cal was stagnant. They finished the first half 9-23 from the floor and only had 20 points. Leon Powe's five points led the Bears.

Oregon, on the other hand, was on fire. The Ducks shot nearly 61 percent from the field and were 5-7 from long range.

"That first half, I thought they were fantastic in executing the game plan," Oregon coach Ernie Kent said of his Ducks.

After holding a 37-20 advantage at the half, Oregon let the Bears climb back into the game in the second period. With Marquise Kately and Leon Powe leading the way, the Bears cut the Oregon lead to six with just 3:00 to go in the game.

The Ducks found a way to step it up on defense, though, and held Cal to only three more points through the rest of the game. Oregon eventually iced the game at the free throw line with James Davis, Luke Jackson and Crosswhite all stroking it from the charity stripe.

It was important for the Ducks to do a much better job rebounding tonight than they have in the past few games. The Ducks did just that. They out-rebounded the Bears 33-26 and held Cal to only seven offensive boards. Guard Andre Joseph led the Ducks with eight rebounds.

"That's the best effort we've had in terms of blocking out and keeping a team off the glass all year long," Kent said.

Oregon also found a spark from first-time starting point guard James Davis. Davis did a tremendous job at bringing the ball up against Cal's pressure and distributed the rock well. The senior from Vancouver, Washington finished with 13 points and five assists in 33 minutes.

After getting the Cal big men into foul trouble early in the contest, Oregon started going inside with the basketball. Ian Crosswhite was the recipient of many of the inside looks. He finished with 16 points. Jay Anderson also found his shooting touch in the early going. He finished with nine points in a career high 30 minutes.

"Those guys didn't want to play defense on me," Anderson said. "They didn't want to get in foul trouble so I just made a couple of good moves on them and hit a few shots."

Luke Jackson actually led the Ducks in scoring with 17 points on 4-8 shooting. He added five assists. Jackson's 17 points give him 1,643 in his career, moving him into sixth place all-time ahead of Orlando Williams.

With Detroit Lions quarterback and former Pit Crew member Joey Harrington in attendance, the Ducks came through with one of their most important wins of the year. Assuring themselves of at least a 5-4 record in the first half of Pac-10 play is huge when it comes to tournament time.

Coming up next for the Ducks will be the unbeaten and second ranked Stanford Cardinal. Stanford is considered the most fundamentally sound basketball team in the nation by some experts. This will be a very important test for the Ducks.

"We have got to have our ‘A' game," James Davis said. "If we bring our ‘B' game, we'll lose."

Stanford and Oregon will tip-off at 3:00 on Saturday, January 31st.

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