Ducks Unable to Overcome WSU

Eugene – For the first time in his 19-year career as a head coach, Ernie Kent was tossed out of a game. In fact, Kent can only recall being given a technical foul on four occasion, two of them coming today as his Oregon Ducks lost to the Washington State Cougars 74-62.

(PHOTO) Tajuan Porter (12) drives around Taylor Rochestie during Oregon's game with Washington State at McArthur Court on Saturday. (Photo by Chris Wilson)

"Watching from down here (in the locker room) I'm really proud of them," said Kent of the game. "The guys battled hard."

Kent indicated he was especially proud of Tajuan Porter, Joevan Catron and LeKendric Longmire.

The three upperclassmen were instrumental in Oregon battling back from a 19-point deficit and playing with Kent on the bench. Kent then went onto say that in his 19 years as a head coach he'd only been given four technicals and tossed out a game once. Whether the total number of technical calls is correct takes a lot of searching through record books, but needless to say Kent hasn't taken an early exit very often due to conflicts with officiating.

"I have been a head coach for 19 years and had four technicals total, and two were today," said Kent. "I have never been thrown out and that speaks for itself."

Kent's frustration with the officiating might be bore out considering freshman Mike Dunigan was only able to stay in the game for 21 minutes before fouling out. Dunigan's back up Josh Crittle faired little better as he was tagged with three personals and played 14 minutes allowing WSU's Aron Baynes to dominate the area directly beneath the basket.

Kent indicated that last week a review of all the fouls committed during the season was made and during this week the pair of Dunigan and Crittle worked hard on cutting down mistakes and made "significant improvement" in their play. However, it wasn't long into the game that Dunigan was called on a foul that may have given a pass for upperclassmen. Kent though wasn't willing to place blame on the officiating or call the refs out.

The first technical was called at the 14: 28 mark in the second half and then just over two minutes later at 12:11, Kent was headed to the showers.

"When I asked the refs they said, ‘I know the guy got fouled, someone needed the foul," related Kent of his conversation with the officials."I say then call it next time on the littlest guy, not the biggest. Some calls were unacceptable but it comes back to the guys getting themselves in position to win games regardless of a couple calls. But I have a lot of respect for those guys. They had nothing to do with missed lay-ups or missed free throws."

The Ducks trouble however may have also been due to playing with less intensity and purpose. In the first half Oregon shot a miserable 25 percent on 6-of-24 but in the second half, especially after Kent's swan song, the tempo and consequently shooting percentage went up. Before getting the second technical, Kent's team trailed by as much as 19 points. Once the headman left, the Ducks shifted into high gear and the shooting percentage jumped to 50 percent on 15-for-30. Tajuan Porter was held scoreless in the first half but ended up as the Ducks co-leader in scoring with 15.

"He believes that this game was reffed unfairly, and did what he had to do," said Porter of Kent. "As a team we were able to come together, and I think it brought us closer."

LeKendric Longmire also had 15 and Joevan Catron added 12. Taylor Rochestie was game's leading point producer with 30 while Baines had 19 and Klay Thompson had 15.

"This was a game we should have won," said Longmire. "I felt like we were the better team, but they came out and played better."

Likely the officiating crew of Chris Rastatter, Milt Stowe and Deron White will have to review their calls with the Pac-10 offices as Kent is seldom in the doghouse with officials. When asked if he thought Dunigan was not getting the benefit of the doubt on calls that upperclassmen might Kent felt that the college game is different than the NBA where it is common practice for star players to face less scrutiny of officiating than rookies.

Kent would say no more about the officiating than that, but it maybe enough, as the Pac-10 has to ask itself if there was a reason for Kent's outburst. Even if the conference does not take a second look, the act of standing up for his team could also act as a catalyst for a young team full of talent but not much success yet.

The loss drops the Ducks to 6-12 on the season and 0-6 in Pac-10 play while the Cougars improve to 11-6 and 3-2.

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