It's The Same Old Song…

Somewhere the Four Tops are singing. It's the same old song and the same beat for the Ducks in much of the still young Pac-10 season. The Ducks hang close early, then fall way behind, followed by a great run at a win but fall just short. UCLA, Arizona, and ASU all went that way and now add California to the list. Oregon made an effort to win the game but again dug too big of a hole in the first half and wound up falling 65-62.

"The game was lost on Oregon's inability to execute," Oregon Head Coach Ernie Kent told OSN.

A valiant Duck effort in the second half actually brought the Ducks to within one with 55 seconds left on a Brandon Lincoln runner. After a missed free throw by Cal's Martin Smith, the Ducks had a chance to take the lead.

Oregon's Aaron Brooks had the ball and had the hot hand in the second half. He went left and pulled the trigger from way out while Ian Crosswhite stood open in the paint.

"Aaron took a tough three there...a 40-footer is a tough read," Kent told OSN.

The three rattled off and California (10-8, 3-5) grabbed the rebound and after a pair of free throws, the game.

You could have taken a video tape of the Arizona, UCLA or ASU games and shown it and Duck fans wouldn't have known a difference except, in this game the Ducks had a chance to win late. Once again, they started the game okay but then seemed to lose all energy and offensive flow.

The Ducks (11-6, 3-5) took an 8-5 lead early but then Cal went on an 11-0 run while Oregon turned it over again and again. The Webfoots finished with 18 turnovers which led to numerous Cal scores.

"It's tough when you put together a game plan and you don't have any energy when you show up," Kent told OSN.

That lack of energy applied to all Ducks but Jordan Kent. The sophomore was diving all over the place, getting hoops in transition and just giving a great overall effort. He finished with eight of his 10 points in the first half.

It wasn't as though the Ducks had trouble guarding a particular player or that a certain Duck was blowing the game, it was simply that Cal was doing more things right that the Ducks were.

"We gave them too much of a cushion and too much of a comfort zone to rally back in the game," Ernie Kent told OSN.

After falling behind at the start of the second half, the Ducks climbed back into the game, inch by inch. Malik Hairston, who led the Ducks with 15 points, drilled a pair of trifectas, Brooks had one, Jordan Kent had a big dunk and then Bryce Taylor scored in transition to bring the Ducks within one with 13:25 left. Cal quickly extended the lead again but the Ducks climbed back in.

Oregon was playing with heart and hustle. They were grabbing rebounds, jumping passing lanes and getting on the floor for loose balls.

"We need to figure out a way to find that urgency in the beginning (of the game)," Ernie Kent told OSN.

Once the Ducks find that urgency, they have struggled at getting over the hump. In all these games recently, they have come so far back but can't close the sale. Against Stanford on Saturday, they will have to either have that early sense of urgency or get over the hump.

"Stanford will work you every single possession and if you do not work with them they'll take advantage and you're going to struggle," Ernie Kent told OSN.


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