Ducks Win Ugly, Move To Second Round

Looking for their first NCAA Tournament win since 1960, the University of Oregon Ducks had to play through some first game jitters on their way to an 81-62 first round win over the Montana Grizzlies at Arco Arena in Sacramento, California.

Oregon got its 1998 Tournament monkey off its back by overcoming a sluggish first half pace which played right into the hands of the Grizzlies. The slow pace allowed Montana to keep the score within eight at 34-26 going into halftime. Oregon's biggest first half problem was free throw shooting, going 10-18 from the stripe, including six misses by Robert Johnson.

In the second half, the Ducks showed glimpses of their open court exploits. Opening up leads into the mid-teens, Oregon's transition opportunities allowed them to pull away from Montana.

Leading Oregon's offensive charge were Luke Ridnour and Luke Jackson who both finished with 18 points. Freddie Jones added 16 points in limited minutes. Despite his troubles at the foul line, Robert Johnson still managed to post a career high 15 points on 5-6 shooting.

Montana's top scorer for the game was forward Ryan Slider. Slider, a Tigard, Oregon native finished with 12 points. Brent Cummings and Dan Trammell added ten points each. Trammel also had two crowd-awing blocks to swing momentum Montana's way.

"This is the first win in a two game tournament. We have three two game tournaments we have to win. Our championship for this tournament is on Saturday," Oregon Assistant Coach Greg Graham told OSN after the game.

Oregon's next opponent will be the ACC's Wake Forest Demon Deacons who finished the regular season with a 20-12 record. Saturday's two versus seven match up is anticipated to be a fast paced, run and gun ball game. Audiences can look to Wake Forest's Darius Songaila who averaged 17.8 points and 8.1 rebounds during the regular season, to be a major part of the Deacons' offense. If Oregon manages to win, they will move to the Sweet Sixteen in Madison, Wisconsin.

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