Ducks blow open game in 2nd half, rout Dawgs

The Oregon Ducks (15-9, 6-6) won an important conference game against the Washington Huskies (13-12, 4-8) by the score of 71-58 on Thursday night in Eugene. The Ducks used a 12-2 run to open the second half and open up a 16 point lead behind two threes from leading scorer Bryce Taylor, who had 15 for the game. The Ducks would never lead by less than double-digits for the rest of the game.

"I thought we were outstanding defensively," said Oregon's Head Coach Ernie Kent. "Offensively, we know where we are, but defensively I think we're really coming around."

The Ducks continued their hot three-point shooting, going 14 of 25 from beyond the arc for 56% shooting for the game after going 18 of 31 in their previous conference game, a 92-70 victory at California last Saturday.

"We're starting to share the ball more," commented Kent. "I'm very pleased that we're sharing the ball more. We've always shot the ball well."

Malik Hairston added 13 points for Oregon while reserve Churchill Odia had a career-high 12 points, all coming on three point field goals. Maarty Leunen had another double double for the Ducks with ten points and ten rebounds.

"Maarty [Leunen] is such a tough match-up," Kent said. "(Jon) Brockman is just a load underneath, and they just needed to neutralize themselves at that position."

Washington was led by power forward and NBA prospect Jon Brockman who had 13 points and 11 rebounds. Oregon held Washington to 39% shooting from the field on 24 of 61 and outrebounded the Huskies 32-31.

"Defense leads us in everything" observed Leunen. "Sometimes we're mismatched defensively but if we play tough and keep them to a low field goal percentage we know we have a good shot because then we can beat them on the other end of the court."

The game was critical for Oregon who kept their hopes for a return trip to the NCAA tournament alive. The Ducks, who are now back to .500 in conference play, could conceivably be in a tie for third-place in the conference standings if they can beat the Washington State Cougars at home on Saturday.

"We know we have cost ourselves some games, but we know we are a good basketball team, particularly on the offensive end of the floor," said Kent of the season. "We just need to keep buying into the defensive effort."

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