One Last Time

It was an emotional day at Mac Court for a special group of Oregon seniors who have gone 39-5 at home over their careers. In a nationally televised contest with the UCLA Bruins, the senior Ducks notched up one more win on their home record, topping the Bruins 60-59 in a nail biter.<br><br>(PHOTO LEFT) Oregon's Luke Jackson (33) drives to the basket between UCLA defenders Dijon Thompson, left, and Trevor Ariza, right, during the second half at McArthur Court. (AP Photo/Brian Davies)

The emotion the seniors felt didn't just start at game time, some were feeling it yesterday as well as today.

"I didn't sleep at all last night; it was like the night before Christmas," Oregon senior James Davis said. "I was really happy and couldn't wait to play."

That charge the seniors felt, put the clamps on them early, possibly due to excitement and nervousness. Coach Ernie Kent started all four seniors, Davis, Luke Jackson, Andre Joseph and Jay Anderson, and the Ducks struggled offensively in the early going, not scoring in double digits until a Jackson bucket with 8:24 to go in the half cut the UCLA lead to 16-11.

"I have not been in a senior game yet at home where they haven't turned the ball over, air-balled it, kicked it around, kicked it some more in the first five or ten minutes of the game," Kent said.

The game wasn't that sloppy all day though, the Ducks (14-11, 9-9) and Bruins (11-16, 7-11) got it going and by the second half, it was a back and forth game. It came right down to the wire.

With 4:24 to go in the game and the Bruins up 54-52, UCLA's Trevor Ariza was called for a charge when he bowled over Oregon center Ian Crosswhite on a drive. Luke Jackson nailed two free throws on the other end after an Ariza foul and the game was tied.

UCLA Coach Ben Howland was not happy about any of the calls down the stretch starting with the Ariza charge.

"I felt that in the last four minutes and 24 seconds of the game, the officiating favored the home team for whatever reason," he said.

With the Mac Court fans going nuts, neither team was able to hit a field goal until a lay-up by UCLA's Cedric Bozeman with 1:55 left put the Bruins up three at 57-54.

The Ducks quickly came back down and Jackson busted a trey from the top of the key to tie it up. After Bozeman scored on another lay-up with just 24 seconds left to put the Bruins up one at 59-58, Oregon came back to Jackson for one last time in a Pac-10 home game.

"We thought they would go to him and let him make a play," Howland said.

With 17.1 seconds left, Oregon in-bounded the ball in the front court. Jackson made a move and flashed out to the top of the left wing. He caught the ball and was smacked immediately on the arm by Ariza. It was Ariza's fifth foul and a call that Howland did not agree with. Jackson, however, said it was a good call.

"Oh he fouled me hard," Jackson said. "He went right through both of my hands. Ben (Howland) will watch that on TV and he'll see that was a foul."

So Jackson stepped to the line, with the game on the line needing to hit the pair. Calmly he sank the pair of free throws and the Ducks led by one.

"We had no doubt he was going to win this game for us," Davis said.

The game wasn't over yet though. UCLA had a chance to get the lead back when Bozeman drove on Andre Joseph with less than seven seconds left. At least three Ducks came over to help and challenge the shot which went awry, caroming off the rim and into the hands of a leaping Jordan Kent.

He was fouled and missed his pair of free throws but it didn't matter, Oregon had come away with a very important and emotional win on senior day.

After starting, all of Oregon's seniors contributed in today's contest. Jay Anderson played 13 solid minutes and had a big first half block which got the crowd going. Andre Joseph saw 35 minutes of action and had a great all-around game. He had nine points, six boards and a career high seven assists. James Davis did his usual three point thing hitting three long range bombs and scoring 11 points.

Luke Jackson, though, was the senior that everyone had their eye on this season and he came through yet again today. In 35 minutes Jackson had 21 points on 7-14 shooting and eight rebounds. He also picked UCLA's pocket three times. Those three steals move him past former teammate Luke Ridnour for second on Oregon's all-time steals list with 152. His 21 points push him up in the single season scoring chart, moving him into 16th place with 540 points this season, just behind Stan Love and Ridnour's 542. Love hit that mark in 1970 and Ridnour did in 2002.

These seniors will next head to Los Angeles for the Pac-10 Tournament. Many experts feel that the only way Oregon will be able to get into the NCAA Tournament is by winning the Pac-10 Tourney. Even if they fall short of that goal though, nothing can take away the accomplishments of these seniors.

"We look up to Luke and James and Andre and Jay and what they've done here," Crosswhite said.


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