Bench, Ridnour Lead Ducks To Win

After a first half that had him sitting on the bench, hampered with two fouls, Oregon Ducks' guard Luke Ridnour exploded in the second half, scoring 23 points and leading the No. 23 Ducks to a 79-64 win over the Stanford Cardinal at McArthur Court in Eugene. <br><br> Oregon's Robert Johnson is fouled going to the basket by Stanford's Rob Little as Nick Robinson looks on at McArthur Court, Feb. 6, 2003, in Eugene, Ore. with an Oregon win at 79-64. (AP Photo/Thomas Boyd)

Luke Ridnour's first half was very brief tonight. After getting two back to back fouls, Oregon Head Coach Ernie Kent pulled him out of the game, not to return again in the half.

"I made some stupid fouls and I knew I wouldn't go in (during the first half)," Ridnour said.

With Ridnour absent, freshman Brandon Lincoln entered the game to run the point. Although he scored a quick basket, the team looked a little shaky without Ridnour in the ballgame. Lincoln's basketball instincts took over quickly though, and he helped Oregon (16-5, 6-4) battle in the first half.

Lincoln kept the game under control and committed only one turnover. He got the Ducks into their offense, showing maturity beyond his age.

"Brandon has been playing great this year," Oregon forward Robert Johnson said. "His job is when Rid is out, to control the team and he's been doing that all year. The more games you play in, the more confidence you get."

(PHOTO RIGHT) Stanford's Joe Kirchofer goes to the basket against Oregon's Ian Crosswhite at McArthur Court, Feb. 6, 2003, in Eugene, Ore. with an Oregon win at 79-64. (AP Photo/Thomas Boyd) Taking a 13-10 lead on an Andre Joseph three pointer with 12:02 to go in the half, the Ducks would not look back, extending the lead to as much as 11 points during the first half, all without Ridnour. Joseph was one of the keys in the half. He finished with 14 points in the period, going 4-6 from long range.

Ridnour reentered the game in the second half and made his presence known right away. The mop topped guard from Blaine, Washington scored Oregon's first six points in the second half. The first hoop was a runner right down the middle, followed by a jumper from just inside the three point line and the third hoop was a sweet little drive. Ridnour was back.

It wasn't just offense doing it however; defense was playing a huge role in the game tonight. The Ducks were able to hold the Cardinal to just 33% field goal shooting for the game compared to the 50% mark they posted in Maples Pavilion just last month.

"We had to clamp down (on defense)," Joseph said. "They really embarrassed us at their house, so we wanted to make sure that every shot they took tonight was a tough shot."

Oregon opened up a 44-37 lead with 16:00 to go in the half but Stanford (16-6, 7-3) came right back, cutting the Oregon lead to 44-42 on a Matt Lottich lay-up with 13:49 left. Andre Joseph nailed a three pointer and after another Stanford hoop, Luke Ridnour rattled off eight straight points putting Oregon up 55-45 with just under 10:00 to go.

The Ducks controlled the flow of the game from there on out. Much of that was due to the great rebounding and defensive effort out of forward Robert Johnson. Johnson had only four points tonight but grabbed 11 rebounds, had three steals and one Ben Wallace-esque rejection. Repeatedly, Johnson would grab a rebound or loose ball inside and dish it out to one of the guards and get the offense going, leading either to a hoop off of his pass or off of a pass in quick succession.

Johnson's effort on the boards led the Ducks to a 38-37 rebounding advantage tonight. Luke Jackson also added six rebounds and Ian Crosswhite had five for the Ducks.

"The big guys were challenged by some of the stuff written about them and we just did a better job boxing out and rebounding tonight," Oregon Head Coach, Ernie Kent said.

Oregon's Luke Ridnour looks for a pass against Stanford's Nick Robinson on his way to scoring 23 points in 22 minutes of play at McArthur Court, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2003, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Thomas Boyd)

Through the rest of the game, the Ducks more or less did what they needed to do to win. Baskets by Johnson, Ridnour and Jackson sealed the Oregon win. With the outcome decided, a special moment occurred with 2:10 to go in the game. Luke Ridnour was at the line, and nailed both free throws, giving him 43 consecutive makes from the charity stripe, setting a Duck record, and three off of the Pac-10 record of 46 in a row.

As a team, the Ducks did a great job at the free throw line tonight. After Ian Crosswhite missed the Ducks' first opportunity from the line, Oregon rattled off 22 straight, finishing up 22-23 on free throws.

Stanford's Julius Barnes finished the game as the Cardinal's leading scorer with 17 points on 5-13 shooting. Josh Childress notched up 15 points and 13 rebounds in 37 minutes of play.

Leading the Ducks in the scoring column tonight was Luke Ridnour with 23 points in just 22 minutes. Andre Joseph scored 17, 15 of which came in the first half. Ian Crosswhite and Luke Jackson both finished with 14 points.

Although Ridnour seemingly took over the game in the second half, he finished without any assists, something that didn't please him.

"That's not good for me to have no assists tonight," Ridnour said. "I was so frustrated; I kind of got out of character in the second half and shot too much. It hurts me to not have any assists."

Next up for Stanford is Oregon State who lost to the Cal Bears tonight in Corvallis. That game will tipoff a 12:30 at Gill Coliseum.

The Ducks will see those Cal Bears in Eugene on Saturday. Oregon will be looking for revenge after the loss that the Bears handed them in Berkley in January. That game will start at 6:00pm and be broadcast on OSN.

"We're going to take it to Cal, I'm telling you that right now," Crosswhite said.

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