Seniors Lead Ducks to 79-70 Win Over Cal

Eugene, OR - The Oregon Ducks (11-4, 2-1) defeated the California Bears (10-4,1-2) in their Pac-10 Conference home opener 79-70 at McArthur Court on Thursday night. Maarty Leunen, the conference leader in double-double's, recorded his tenth with 18 points and 11 rebounds. It was a night where the Oregon seniors led the way as Malik Hairston and Byrce Taylor each scored 20 points.

Freshman Kamyron Brown, starting in place of TaJuan Porter, made some momentum creating plays with a couple of sensational passes. The first, hitting the trailing Leunen on the fast break, passing the ball backwards with a bounce pass between two Bear defenders.

Leunen was all alone and able to throw down a powerful two-handed dunk, inspiring the Oregon crowd and giving the Ducks a 19-15 advantage. Oregon would take a 31-26 lead into the halftime break, a surprisingly low score for the top two scoring teams in the Pac-10.

Oregon was active defensively, with a lot of deflected passes, and held Cal to 35% shooting in the first half. Oregon was led by Hairston who scored 11 in the opening half. Noting the importance of protecting the home court in league play, Hairston said "we don't want to lose at Mac Court, it is just unacceptable."

Brown's play was noticed by Oregon Head Coach Ernie Kent who said "I thought his energy was good. He was making plays. That's two pretty good back-to-back games for him."

Ryan Anderson averaging a league leading 20.8 points per game, scored 22 to lead all scorers. Anderson, one of last years best freshman, shot 8 of 15 from the field and was 3 of 4 from three-point range.

Oregon opened the largest lead of the game at 48-34 with just under 15 minutes remaining. Brown made another nice pass hitting Taylor in stride for a break away dunk to the delight of the Oregon crowd.

The Bears responded with a 22-6 run to take a 56-54 lead however Leunen immediately responded with a three to retake the lead for the Ducks. Cal would stick around and only trailed 68-64 when Malik Hairston made a huge three to give Oregon a three possession lead with under two minutes to play.

Patrick Christopher , a sophomore forward who started the Cal spurt with consecutive three‘s, was a thorn in the side of the Ducks all evening long. The talented Christopher tallied 21 points including five three-pointers but said "when you play in an environment like this, it's tough. This is one of the toughest places to play. ..when Malik hit that last three in the corner, that was the dagger."

The Ducks were without forward Joevon Catron who is out with an injured foot. Churchill Odia started in his place and scoring three points in 17 minutes. Franz Dorsainvil was quite effective scoring eight points on 4-5 shooting in 23 minutes.

It was an important conference win for Oregon against a quality league opponent. Oregon hosts Stanford on Sunday at 1:00 PM. Asked about facing Stanford and the seven-foot Lopez twins, Kent said "we need to protect our home court. It could be ugly, it could be pretty, but you have to win the ball game."

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