Not Just A Football School

Thursday night, the University of Oregon proved that they are more than just a football school, as the #13 Ducks beat the #20 USC Trojans 67-65, clinching a tie for their first conference title in 57 years.

After falling behind by as much as 11 points in the second half, the Ducks managed to come back time and time again despite committing 21 turnovers in the game. Great defense and key field goals from Luke Ridnour, Luke Jackson, James Davis and Freddie Jones keyed the Oregon victory.

With the Ducks leading 65-59 with little over one minute left to play in the game, USC's Errick Craven and David Bluthenthal nailed back to back three pointers to tie the game with 30 seconds left. Oregon's Ridnour took the ball down floor after the inbound pass and called timeout.

"During the timeout I wanted the ball to come to me. On the court I looked over at coach and he wanted me to go get it," Freddie Jones told OSN after the game.

After Oregon ran through a high motion set and with the clock running down, the ball found its way to Jones' hands. He hesitated just slightly and then made his move.

"I just wanted to get into the paint, elevate and get a shot off or find a teammate," Jones said. "It seemed like a big lane opened up for me and I elevated with a shot I've practiced for I don't know how long."

Jones' shot dropped straight through with one second left on the clock. USC guard Brandon Granville threw up a 60 foot prayer which caromed off the backboard, then the rim, nearly missing what would have been a miracle shot.

"Granville's three almost went in. Oh my! What if that would have gone in? I'd still be lying out there on the floor," Oregon Coach Ernie Kent told OSN. "Sometimes you just have to follow destiny."

Destiny did seem to have a plan for Oregon tonight as they were able to overcome shooting only 42.3% from the floor, 61.5% from the line and 29.2% from beyond the arc. USC failed to shoot any better however, shooting 33.8% from the field and 23% from three point land.

Leading the way for the Ducks was Luke Ridnour who had 17 points and six rebounds while going 5-10 from downtown. Freddie Jones also had a great game scoring 15 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and getting four steals. Luke Jackson added 12 points on 4-8 shooting. Oregon center Chris Christoffersen had a big night with eight points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots.

"Chris played like a man tonight," Coach Kent said.

USC once again had a monumental effort in a losing cause by Sam Clancy. Clancy scored 25 points and had nine rebounds in 35 minutes. Also in double figures for the Trojans were Errick Craven and Rory O'Neil with 20 and 10 points respectively.

Oregon travels next to Westwood to face the UCLA Bruins with the outright Pac-10 Championship on the line. If Oregon beats the Bruins, they will not have to share the title. The Ducks are now 13-4 in conference play, 21-7 overall. Saturday's game can be seen on CBS at 1:00pm.

"We didn't come here to tie for the crown," Kent said. "It's going to be a big game over there and we want to continue to make this school proud."

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