Oregon wound up taking a 10-point lead at times in the first half, but lost it by halftime, when Kansas cut it to a 47-43 game. Halftime couldn't have come at a better moment for the Ducks, as they seemed to be struggling in the final minutes of the first half.
The second half started with an 8-3 Oregon run that gave the Ducks a 55-46 lead. It went back and forth from then on out. Kansas never took the lead, but anytime the Ducks would make a run, Kansas would come right back and narrow the deficit. Many times Oregon would look a tad sluggish in their offense after a small run and would allow Kansas right back into the game.
"Those times when they came back on us were when we got out of our own game plan," Oregon Coach Ernie Kent told OSN after the game.
After Oregon forward Jay Anderson made a jumper with 4:45 to go, Kansas scored five straight points to tie the game at 74 with 4:00 to go. Oregon came right back however, and after a Luke Ridnour missed jumper, Luke Jackson grabbed the rebound and went right back up to give Oregon the lead again. Jackson was fouled on the play by Wayne Simien, giving him a chance to put the Ducks up three with a free throw, but he missed the shot, giving Kansas the ball back with 3:00 to go and being down only two.
Kansas' Michael Lee made the front end of a one and one but missed the second shot, so Oregon still held the lead. Luke Jackson made two free throws and then stole a Kansas pass and fed the ball ahead to Luke Ridnour who gave Oregon an 80-75 lead with 2:25 to go.
Keith Langford then made the first of two free throws with 1:53 left putting Kansas down four and giving the Jayhawks the feeling that they were right with Oregon in this ballgame. Luke Ridnour put all Oregon doubt away, however, when he came down the left side of the floor and drilled a clutch three pointer to put the Ducks up seven with 1:17 left. In the final minute, Oregon didn't look back until the clock had four zeroes on it and the Ducks were victorious 84-78.
Oregon's bench was one of their keys in this game. Starters would get tired or in foul trouble and the bench would come on and do a very solid job. Jay Anderson in particular hit some very key shots off the bench and scored seven points.
"I can't say enough about Jay Anderson, Andre Joseph and Ian Crosswhite and the jobs they did today," Kent said.
Leading the scoring for the Jayhawks was Kirk Hinrich who had 24 points in 39 minutes. Keith Landford, Michael Lee, and Wayne Simien also finished in double figures with 21, 11 and 10 points respectively. Another key for the Ducks today was stopping Nick Collison. Collison finished with only seven points in 24 minutes. The Ducks got him in foul trouble early, and even when he was in the game, Brian Helquist, Robert Johnson, Jay Anderson and Ian Crosswhite did a great job defending him.
Portland's own Aaron Miles was also fairly ineffective today, scoring only four points in 36 minutes on 1-11 shooting.
Co-players of the game Luke Jackson and Luke Ridnour lead all scorers with 26 and 25 points each. Jackson was also 2-3 from three point land and grabbed nine boards. Ridnour also added nine points and seven rebounds. Robert Johnson was the only other Duck player in double figures with 12 points. Johnson chalked up his second double-double of the year, also grabbing 10 rebounds.
The Ducks also tied Kansas on the boards today with each team grabbing 40 rebounds. Ernie Kent was happy about his team's effort rebounding.
"We knew it would be a physical game in the pain and I am so proud of our boxing out and rebounding," Kent said.
Not only was today a big win for this year's Oregon Ducks basketball team, but it was also Ernie Kent's 99th career victory.
The Oregon Ducks will next face the Pepperdine Waves in their first road game of the year. Oregon will play in Malibu, California on Saturday, December 14 at 7:30pm. The game will be broadcast on OSN.