Leunen Gets Hot at the Right Time

Corvallis – Maarty Leunen had a career night shooting the ball as he carried the Oregon Ducks (16-12, 7-9) to an 80-68 win over the last place Oregon State Beavers. Leunen was the go to guy and finished off with 32 points and the Ducks dearly needed his shooting touch as the Beavers played with great spirit and enthusiasm despite their 6-22 record.

(PHOTO) Oregon's Maarty Leunen, center, shoots between Oregon State's Marcel Jones (3) and Roeland Schaftenaar (10) during the first half of basketball in Corvallis, Ore., Sunday March 2, 2008. Leunen had 32 points in Oregon's 80-68 win. (AP Photo/Greg Wahl-Stephens)

"How about Maarty Leunen in his last War?" asked Oregon Head Coach Ernie Kent. "He finally had a career night… the more he shoots, the more he scores."

Leunen was not only the thorn in the side of the Beavers but the dagger that killed the feisty Beavers' attempt to pull off an upset and give OS its first win in Pac-10 competition this year. Leunen was 8-for-10 in field goal shooting including a blistering 7-for-8 in 3-point shooting. He also canned 9-of-12 in free throw shooting.

"Usually I'm a little more all around (on the court) and I only had three rebounds, I was shooting the ball too much to get in there to get rebounds," admitted Leunen of his night. "I know that's not going to happen every night but I know as long as I keep on shooting the ball well and guys keep on finding me, I think we will be successful."

For the game the Ducks shot just over 46 percent on 24-of-52 field goal shooting including 11-for-21 in 3s. Oregon held a slim 33-32 halftime lead that Kent believes was caused by Oregon's inability to block out and gave the pesky Beavers opportunities for put-back baskets.

The Ducks had two other players in double-figure scoring. Bryce Taylor had 13 and LeKendric Longmire scored 14, but it was Longmire's overall energy on the court that caught his coach's attention.

"Longmire I thought played with so much energy in the game," cited Kent of Longmire's play. "We needed his energy on the floor. He got into a great rhythm on the floor and certainly down the stretch we wanted his defense out there."

While the Ducks seemed to struggle with Oregon State's attacking style of play, it seemed to Kent that the Ducks found some magic in the crucial last three minutes and that was the difference in the game. In those closing minutes the Ducks outscored the Beavers 7-3 and had a 5-2 rebounding advantage.

Marcel Jones paced OS with 17 while Calvin Haynes added 16. OS shot just under 39 percent for the game on 24-of-62 shooting and 8-for-30 in 3-point attempts. The Beavers did not help themselves as they gave Oregon 31 free throw attempts compared the 16 that OS took.

Oregon now goes back to McArthur Court to finish off the season with Arizona State on Thursday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. (Pacific) and Saturday against Arizona with tipoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The Ducks must beat both teams to keep their slim NCAA hopes alive and Kent is glad that the regular season is finishing off in Eugene.

"Right now for us it is getting ready for Arizona State," observed Kent. "It's a short week. It's a quick game coming up at 5:30 and it is important that we get ourselves ready for it."

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