Ducks overcome Trojans, 73-61

The Oregon Ducks (13-15, 7-9 Pac-10) really needed to beat the USC Trojans (16-10, 7-8) in order to keep any hopes of finishing in 6th place in the Pac-10 race and that is exactly what happened. The Ducks won over the Trojans 73-61 in Los Angeles. If the Ducks can win the next two games and if USC lose two of its last three games then the Ducks will be in the No. 6 spot in the Pac-10 Tourney and in a better chance to accomplish a nearly impossible dream -- winning the Pac-10 Tourney.

(PHOTO) Oregon's Ray Schafer, right, grabs an offensive rebound over the outstretched arm of Southern California's Jeremy Barr (41) during the first half of a college basketball game in Los Angeles on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006. Oregon won 73-61. (AP Photo/Francis Specker)

The winner of the Pac-10 gains an automatic birth to the NCAA Tournament.

"We've been playing some good basketball and this team stepped up and played really, really well," Oregon's head coach Ernie Kent told the Oregon Sports Network after the game.

The Ducks led most of the contest and was led by Aaron Brooks who had 20 points on 7-for-11 field goal shooting including 4-for-7 in 3-pointers. Malik Hairston followed with 18 points and center Ray Schafer had a big night with 13 points. Jordan Kent ended up with six points but had a big defensive effort on USC's Nick Young. Young finished the night with 14 points, under his 17.2 point per game season average.

"Defensively he was superb," Ernie Kent said of Jordan Kent's play. "The whole key was to keep Nick Young between 10 and 16 points... Maarty (Leunen) had him too and they did a great job in taking a great player out and defensively it was a big key in the game."

Ernie Kent also heaped praises on Brooks, Hairston and Schafer. Calling Brooks' performance superb for his shooting and poised composure. Kent thought that Hairston was unstoppable during a six-minute run. Schafer, in Kent's opinion was pivotal for the success the Ducks had tonight.

"We ran one play eight straight minutes in a row, one play," explained Kent of Schafer's play. "At Ray, at Ray, at Ray and he just made everything happen."

Kent also believes his team's conditioning was a factor in the outcome.

"We were a very strong basketball team that finished the game off," said Kent.

Ryan Francis ' 18 points paced USC.

For the game Oregon shot 58 percent on 29-of-50 in field goal shooting including 9-of-18 in 3-point shooting. USC shot 48 percent on 24-of-50 and were also hot shooting 8-for-19 in 3-pointers.

Oregon will face UCLA on Sunday at Pauley Pavilion at 1 p.m. The game will be televised on CBS.

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