A Show Of Heart

Coming into this game on a five game losing streak the Oregon men's basketball team could have folded up like a cheap lawn chair. But not these Ducks. Once again, in the face of adversity, these Ducks showed heart and nearly pulled off the upset of the year.

After losing junior forward Ian Crosswhite to an indefinite suspension on Wednesday, the Ducks came out firing in Thursday's game. They battled the Huskies into overtime where they just couldn't get it done and lost 95-88.

"I hope this team continues to show this community what character is all about," Oregon Head Coach Ernie Kent said.

It was character, heart, determination, or any combination of the three that powered the Ducks tonight. This was a completely different squad than Duck fans had seen in the past few weeks. They came out fast, stayed fast and when it slowed down, ran a solid half court offense.

In the end of regulation, though, the Ducks had a great chance to win this game. The Ducks were up five after a pair of Aaron Brooks free throws with just under a minute to go. Washington's Will Conroy drove right, on Washington's next possession, and put one off the glass and in to cut the lead to three.

Just seconds later, Oregon's Jordan Kent, who again, had perhaps the most heart of them all, was fouled and went to the line. Kent finished the game with 19 points and 16 rebounds but missed both free throws setting up Conroy for a three to tie the game and send it to overtime.

"I had the chance to win the game there and I failed," Jordan Kent said.

It shouldn't have come down to those two free throws. In the game, the Ducks were 33-54 from the line for a less than stellar 61 percent.

In a game where Jordan Kent again gave until the tank was empty and then gave some more, he took the blame for the loss on himself. Yet he was 11-16 from the line in the game, had those 19 points and 16 boards and a pair of steals to go with it.

"Jordan had a tremendous, tremendous game," Ernie Kent said.

It wasn't just Jordan Kent in this one though. Other Ducks stepped up as well.

Aaron Brooks distributed the ball very well and, although he was held scoreless in the first half, controlled the tempo for much of the second and finished with 15 points and five assists.

Maarty Leunen started and had 12 points on 5-6 shooting and grabbed eight boards while Bryce Taylor also added ten points.

Oregon's lone double-digit scoring performance off the bench came from freshman Chamberlain Oguchi. Although Oguchi hasn't had a lot of chances to shine this year, he used his opportunity and lit up the scoreboard for 13 points including a four-point play.

Meanwhile, Adam Zahn also added nine points and three boards in 12 minutes off the bench looking as confident as ever.

"It was quite obvious that Oregon came to play tonight and they brought their ‘A' game," Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said.

Even with all those positives, though, the Oregon team still won't be happy until they end this losing streak, which is now at six games.

"We're still trying to get wins and that's the most important part," Brooks said. "We should have won the game but it slipped."

When the game went into overtime, the Ducks still had a chance at getting that win. Conroy hit another great shot to open the scoring in the extra frame and then a pair of Nate Robinson free throws put the Dawgs up four, 83-79. Conroy finished with 17 points and Robinson with 24.

Oguchi came right back and drilled a three and the Washington lead was only one. As they had all game, the Huskies got those three points back by way of a Brandon Roy hoop and harm. Another Conroy bucket and the game was more or less over.

The Ducks will have to bounce back from this game for a match-up with the Washington State Cougars on Saturday. Oregon beat the Cougs in their last Pac-10 win, four weeks ago.

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