Run and Gun

In a game where the No. 21 Oregon Ducks jumped all over the Washington Huskies early and often, perhaps the bigger story was the injury to star forward Luke Jackson that took place late in the first half of the 91-66 Oregon win.

With Oregon leading 38-14 with 5:50 to go in the first half, Washington forward Doug Wrenn was thrown a pass high on the wing. Luke Jackson flew into the passing lane to try and intercept it, but as he reached the ball, his right hand was caught up in Wrenn's jersey. The whistle blew and a foul was called, but Jackson came away from the play writhing in pain. As he pulled his left hand away from his right, blood started to flow from his right hand. The crowd was hushed.

"I was scared for him that he might have broken something," Oregon guard Luke Ridnour said.

As coaches rushed to his aide, Jackson left the floor, leaving the McArthur Court crowd stunned. It wasn't until much later that everyone found out that it was not as serious as originally thought.

"It was a pretty extensive cut," Oregon Coach Ernie Kent said. "About three quarters of the ring finger, at the base of it, was stitched up. The good thing was it didn't damage the tendon or the nerve. It was just a deep cut that put a lot of the blood on the floor."

After their fast start, Oregon now had to battle the adversity that Kent has talked about all season. The Ducks were able to maintain the intensity that held Washington without a field goal in the first seven minutes of the game. Both defensively and offensively, the team kept up the pace and did many things very well, even without Luke Jackson.

"I know Coach Kent pretty good," Washington Coach Lorenzo Romar said. "I've talked to him about the Oregon team and one thing he always talks about is the character of this team. When (LJ went down) that's what you saw. You also saw the experience that they didn't fall apart, they came together."

Hot shooting also propelled the Ducks through the adversity tonight. Early on, James Davis, Ian Crosswhite and Andre Joseph all carried the scoring load. Joseph had ten points at the end of the first half.

Washington's Will Conroy struggles for a loose ball as Oregon's Luke Jackson stands by in the first half in Eugene, Ore., Thursday Jan. 23, 2003. (AP Photo/Thomas Boyd)

At the end of the first half, momentum was clearly in the Oregon camp even without Luke Jackson. The Ducks led 48-25.

In the second half, Oregon did what they had to do to win the game. They simply maintained the lead and put the Huskies away.

James Davis was spectacular from long range this evening, making his first six three pointers. He finished up 6-7 from beyond the arc. Davis notched 18 points in 32 minutes.

In the absence of Luke Jackson, someone had to pick up the tough defensive task of guarding Doug Wrenn. Jackson was superb early against the NBA prospect, but without him on the floor, Oregon had to find someone to stick with Wrenn. Andre Joseph was just that person. Not only did Joseph wind up with 17 points on 7-14 shooting, but he did a great job guarding shutting down Wrenn.

"I just denied (Wrenn) the best I (could) and whenever he got the ball we had a double team coming," Joseph said. "We played him pretty well tonight."

Luke Ridnour also had a very solid game tonight, scoring 15 points and adding 11 of Oregon's 28 assists. Those 28 Oregon assists came on 34 made baskets, something Coach Kent was very happy about.

"I don't know if there's another team in the country that has had a game like that when you talk about 28 assists on 34 buckets," Kent said.

The only other Oregon player in double figures was Ian Crosswhite. The young man from Australia had 14 points, six rebounds and three blocks in 16 minutes. Crosswhite played great defense tonight and provided some solid help inside.

(PHOTO LEFT) Oregon's Luke Jackson is assisted off the court by trainer Clay Jamieson, left, after he suffered a laceration to his hand after a violent collision in the first half against Washington at McArthur Court, Jan. 23, 2003, in Eugene, Ore. Coach Ernie Kent reacts to the injury on the right. (AP Photo/Thomas Boyd)

Along with Crosswhite, Oregon saw solid performances from all of their big men. Although the score sheet won't show it, Brian Helquist, Robert Johnson, Matt Short and Jay Anderson all provided great offensive and defensive efforts.

"They got us spread out and as our big guys tried to help, they did a good job of finding their big guys," Washington Coach Lorenzo Romar said.

Washington's big player for the night was guard Nate Robinson. Robinson had 18 points in 21 minutes off of the bench.

"He is an unbelievable athlete," Ridnour said of Robinson. "He just plays hard. He's someone you have to be ready to play."

Washington forwards Mike Jensen and Doug Wrenn also added 13 and 10 points respectively. Wrenn had seven rebounds as well.

The Huskies will travel to Oregon State on Saturday to try and improve their 7-9 overall record. Tipoff will be at 7:00 in Gill Coliseum.

Oregon will have to face Washington State on Saturday without Luke Jackson. Jackson is out for the game against the Cougars and is questionable for next week's trip to Southern California. The Ducks have to maintain their intensity from tonight in order to keep the winning streak alive and to improve their 13-4 record. Saturday's game will be at 6:00 with television on the Oregon Sports Network.

"Everybody has to step up their game (without Jackson on the floor)," Joseph said. "Those are some big shoes to fill, but I think we can do it."

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