Ducks in Portland to take on Pilots

If there were such a thing as the Oregon championship, then Thursday would be a chance for the Portland Pilots (4-7). So far this season the Pilots have beaten Oregon State (76-62) and Portland State (70-52), now the Oregon Ducks (6-4) come back to Portland for a 7 p.m. game at the Chiles Center on the campus of the University of Portland.

Oregon's Brandon Lincoln, left, forces a turnover against Howard's Christian Murphy in the second half of an NCAA basketball game, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2005, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

Oregon had its best performance of the season on Tuesday night with a 91-55 win over Howard at McArthur Court in Eugene. The Ducks shot a scorching 67 percent from the field and made 9-of-15 from 3-point range. Malik Hairston led the way with 22 points to keep his streak of double figure scoring alive. Hairston, who is averaging 15.0 points per game has scored at least 10 points in all 10 games this season. Aaron Brooks recorded a double-double against Howard with 10 points and 10 assists. Bryce Taylor, missing his first start in 37 games against Howard scored 15 points. Taylor leads the Pac-10 conference in free throw percentage (.923) and is ranked 14th nationally in that category.

Senior guard Pooh Jeter leads the Pilots in scoring with 14.9 ppg, while his running mate at guard senior darren Cooper is second in scoring with 13.4 ppg. OSU transfer Kevin Fields scores 7.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game at center.

Portland lost to Montana State on Monday night 70-68 on a last second shot.

Oregon's head coach Ernie Kent said after the Howard win on Tuesday night that playing Portland had significance in there is more at stake than just a win in December. Being both teams are from the state of Oregon there is an additional pride factor involved.

"The game for us right now is the one sitting up there in Portland on Thursday," observed Kent. "They've beaten Oregon State, they've beaten Portland State, and they want to sweep the state."

Portland native Brandon Lincoln who will make his second consecutive start also looks at the game as something special.

"This is a rivalry game," said Lincoln of the Portland game. "We have to match their intensity."

Tip-off for the contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. There will be no live television coverage but the Oregon Sports Network with Jerry Allen calling the action will carry the game live on radio.

Subscribers to eDuck Sports can follow the game with other Duck fans in Chat starting at the 7 p.m. (Pacific Time).

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