Oregon Pulls One Out

Oregon almost did it again. After building a large lead in the first half, the Ducks tried to give the game away to the Washington State Cougars Saturday in Pullman. The Ducks didn't, though, and fought their way to a much needed 67-62 overtime win.

In a conference where it is hard to come up with road wins, Oregon (7-5, 12-7) had a sweep of the Washington schools well within their grasp after the first half against Washington on Thursday. The Ducks fell apart against the Huskies and could have done the same thing against the Cougars today.

After an Andre Joseph free throw to open the second half, Oregon held an 18 point lead at 32-14. Then Washington State (5-8, 11-12) caught fire started to inch their way back into the game. With star player Marcus Moore sitting out with four fouls, Wazzu got big plays from Thomas Kelati and Randy Green, both of whom finished with 12 points.

Little by little, the Cougars came back, and with 3:50 left, a Kelati three pointer tied the game at 48. Friel Court was as loud as it had been all day, and Oregon was in trouble.

With 2:17 left, Ian Crosswhite, who had an incredible game, fouling out with 23 points, got a hoop and a harm to put Oregon back up three. Back came the Cougs and Marcus Moore hit his first shot of the game, a three pointer that tied it back up.

"These guys hit some tough shots in this game," Oregon Coach Ernie Kent told OSN about Washington State.

After a Duck time out, with the shot clock running down, Brandon Lincoln made a great drive to the hoop and scored, giving Oregon another lead.

Back came the Cougars again. Justin Bellegarde scored on a wide open lay-up with just 21 seconds left and the game was tied at 53.

On Oregon's next possession, Brandon Lincoln had the ball to start Oregon's play. Luke Jackson set a high screen for Lincoln who drove to the low block. Moore slapped the ball away from Lincoln whereupon the ball went out of bounds off of a Duck. It was Cougar ball with just two seconds left.

"I put it in his hands to make a basketball play," Kent told OSN. "Luke (Jackson) wanted it but Brandon needed to grow."

On the inbound play, Moore missed a long three point shot and this game was going to overtime. Oregon had survived…at least this far.

In overtime, it was back and forth again. When Moore hit a pair of free throws with 1:12 left, the game was tied again, this time at 60. It was the last time the teams were even.

With under a minute left, Jackson drove to the hoop and was fouled by Chris Schlatter and nailed two free throws. On Oregon's next possession, Lincoln hit a pair and Jackson hit two more next time down. Oregon led 66-60 with 20 seconds left and the game was finally over.

"It's really good that we pulled this one out," Oregon's Ian Crosswhite told OSN. "We needed to pull this one out."

Oregon didn't just pull this one out; they had to battle to get the win. After holding the Cougars to 14 points in the first half, Wazzu was absolutely on fire through the second half. This is the type of game that will aid Oregon when the Pac-10 Tournament comes around.

It was important for Oregon to find that they can go inside when they need big baskets, especially when Jackson, James Davis and Andre Joseph aren't hitting all their shots. The Ducks went down to the post with Crosswhite time after time. The center from Australia made eight straight field goals to open the game.

"Ian Crosswhite was just a man tonight down in the low block," Kent told OSN.

Jackson and Joseph did finish with good point totals and looked solid at crunch time. Jackson had 16 points and nine boards while Joseph finished with 13 points and five rebounds. Joseph ended his final road trip to Washington with 32 points in the two games.

The Ducks also got a good game from Brandon Lincoln. The sophomore from Portland's basketball powerhouse, Jefferson High School finished with nine points, but more important that than, he handled his start at point guard very well, distributing the ball and playing solid defense on the much taller Moore.

"Brandon hit some tough buckets in the game," Kent told OSN. "This was a big breakthrough game for him."

Next for the Ducks will be the always tough Arizona Wildcats in Mac Court. Arizona has not looked as good of late as they did earlier in the season, but it is always a tough game when the Cats come to Eugene.

"It's going to be a hard fought game right down to the end," Crosswhite told OSN.

The game will be very important for the Ducks in the hunt for a good seed in the Pac-10 Tournament. Oregon and ‘Zona will tip-off at 7:30 on Thursday, February 19th.

"Here we are again in third place playing the team ahead of us next week with a chance to move into second," Kent told OSN. "We're going to need this crowd, in the right way, come Thursday."

eDuck Top Stories