Oakland Proves Last Year Was No Fluke

Eugene, Ore. - Jonathon Jones scored a career-high 32 points to lead the Oakland Golden Grizzlies (1-1)to a 82-79 overtime victory over the Oregon Ducks (1-1) at McArthur Court. It was the second time in as many seasons that the Grizzlies have stunned the Ducks, and the loss left Oregon Head Coach Ernie Kent tied with Howard Hobson atop the career wins list at Oregon.

"Oakland is a very good veteran team" said Kent. This will be a good "learning opportunity" for us when we go back and look at the tape. "We had some breakdowns" Kent added citing 18 offensive rebounds for the Grizzlies.

The veteran Grizzlies of the Summit League started the game strong and led 12-5 after the first five minutes forcing Kent to call a timeout. Oregon responded and closed to within 21-20 after two TaJuan Porter three-pointers along with one from Churchill Odia.

Oregon took its first lead of the game at 29-27 after Porter connected on his third consecutive three-point attempt. A 15-2 Oregon run was capped by another three, this one from LeKendrick Longmire, giving the Ducks their biggest lead of the game at 36-29.

Oakland, who returned all five starters from last years 17-14 squad, would not be rattled however. Despite playing without leading returning scorer and rebounder Derick Nelson, the Grizzlies withstood Longmire's 18 first half points to stay close, trailing only 46-41 at the break.

The Grizzlies then started the second half with a 10-0 run and limited Oregon to just 11 points in the first 15 minutes of the final half. The Ducks own solid defense kept the game close until the Ducks reclaimed the lead late in the ball game behind four straight free throws from Joevan Catron and buckets from freshmen center Michael Dunigan and Odia.

Oregon was nursing a 65-63 lead with under a minute to go but could not get a shot off and turned the ball over on a 35 second shot clock violation. It was one of 18 turnovers by the Ducks on the night and it proved to be costly.

On the ensuing possession, senior guard Erik Kangas was fouled while attempting a three-pointer and calmly sank all three free throw attempts with 33 seconds left to give the Grizzlies the lead.

Oakland would tack on another two free throws to take a three point lead. Porter had an answer as he drew a foul while taking a three-pointer with six seconds left in the game. Porter matched Kangas' poise and sank all three to force overtime with the score tied at 68 at the end of regulation.

Jones then took over in overtime scoring ten of Oakland's 14 points in the extra period including a clinching baseline jumper with 8 seconds remaining.

"The story was Jones" commented Kent. "We had no answers for Jones defensively. He really carried them." He is a "heck of a player and they milked him pretty good."

Kangas, who scored the first points of overtime on a conventional three-point play, added 18 points for Oakland. Center Keith Benson had 10 points and eight rebounds for the Grizzlies.

The Ducks were led by Longmire's 18 points. Porter chipped in 17 including 4-6 shooting from downtown while Dunigan had his first double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Catron also recorded a double double with 13 points and 11 rebounds to go along with a career-high eight assists.

Oregon shot only 39% for the game on 25-65 from the field. "We need to finish shots" said Kent. "We missed easy shots at the basket."

The Ducks now embark on a five game road trip beginning Friday at UC Irvine. Oregon will then fly to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational where they will face Alabama in the first of three games before returning stateside to play at Utah on December 3rd.

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