Ducks come up short, 75-72

It was close again for the Oregon Ducks (11-15, 5-9 Pac-10) at home against the Washington Huskies (19-5, 8-5) but as the case has been too many times for the Ducks in Pac-10 play, when the final horn sounded, the Ducks lost, 75-72. While a couple of the areas that had been sore spots for the Ducks -- long, scoreless stretches and poor free throw shooting was not the case, an unexpected weakness showed up -- rebounding. The Ducks also were unable to get a shot when the clock was expiring.

(PHOTO) Oregon forward Chamberlain Oguchi, left, goes to the hoop over Washington's Ryan Appleby during college basketball first half action in Eugene, Ore., Thursday, Feb. 16, 2006.(AP Photo/Don Ryan)

"I felt we gave them way too many second shots," Oregon's head coach Ernie Kent told the Oregon Sports Network of his team's effort. "That's where the game was."

The game was an evenly matched contest that might surprise some people considering the Huskies five losses this season have been in conference play and the Ducks while being competitive have not consistantly found the solution for wins.

Statistically, rebounding was the only area that the Huskies had a noticeable difference. Washington out rebounded Oregon 35-26 and most importantly had 14 rebounds to Oregon's 5. Husky forward Jon Brockman had seven total rebounds, four of those on the offensive glass. Jamaal Williams came in off the bench and also had seven boards including four offensive rebounds. Forward Bobby Jones had five boards with three off the offensive glass, as did Brandon Roy with four total rebounds and three of those offensive boards.

"We must have had them stopped maybe seven, eight, nine maybe even 10 times and yet out of those 10 times we stopped them there were eight offensive rebounds," explained Kent. "Six or maybe seven of those led to second chance points."

The Ducks again displayed a tough defense that kept Husky shooters at bay. In fact the Ducks had a better shooting percentage going 26-of-50 for 52 percent compared to Washington's 29-of-66 or 43.9 percent. The Ducks made 6-of-17 in 3-point shooting while the Huskies connected on 4-of-16 in 3s. Free throw shooting which had been a problem earlier in the season for Oregon was even with Oregon shooting 14-for-16 or 87.5 percent while the Huskies were 13-for-15 or 81.7 percent.

"We were fortunate tonight to come out of here with a victory," Washington head Lorenzo Romar commented of the game. "They were a step quicker than us tonight."

Roy led the way for Washington with 21 while Williams had 17 and Brockman contributed 14. Chamberlain Oguchi was high man for Oregon also with 21 including four 3-pointers. Ivan Johnson had 12 and was tagged with a technical foul with 4:26 left in the game as he headed up court after Brockman barreled his way to an offensive put back to put the Huskies back in the lead 66-65. Roy was able to drop two free throws and while the Ducks tied the game at 68, Oregon could never regain the lead. Malik Hairston had 18 points before fouling out with 31 seconds left on the clock and the Ducks trailing 72-70 on a call that left the McArthur Court crowd screeming. Hairston was called for an offensive foul that many times might have been called a blocking foul.

"Absolutely nothing happened, but the ref made the call," Hairston said of the his fifth foul."We still had more basketball to play and unfortunately we just didn't win the game."

The game started off as though it would be a long night for Oregon. Washington went out to a 7-0 lead but the Ducks fought back with Hairston playing as determined as he has all season. He was able to find Johnson on the fast break, but as the half wore on foul trouble started plaguing the Ducks as Hairston was forced to sit with three fouls. The Huskies were not fairing little better as Jones also was saddled with three fouls and when the half ended Washington was up 40-37.

"We had to hustle and play small at times," said Kent. "They are a great athletic, rebounding team. They just pounded us on the boards."

Oregon again found itself in a position of having some seconds left on the game clock at the end of the first half but was unable to get off a decent shot. The scenario played itself again at the end of the game when Oregon had the ball with 10 seconds left in the game clock and trailing by 3 points. Aaron Brooks brought the ball into front court but no play was clearly set up and after passing the ball off to Maarty Leunen, who took an off-balanced jumper, the game ended as the balled bounced off the rim. The Ducks have had several opportunities of clock management this season particularly in the close losses in the Pac-10 match ups to get off a good shot with time remaining.

Oregon's next game will be the final home game of the year against Washington State on Saturday with tip-off scheduled for 1 p.m.

Official Box Score from www.goducks.com

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