Ducks Down Trojans To Make It Two In A Row

Spearheaded by the efforts of sophomores Malcolm Armstead and Jeremy Jacob, the Oregon men continued to ride their wave of confidence created off of Thursday's night victory over UCLA, as the Ducks defeated the Trojans of USC on Saturday afternoon, 67-57.

(PHOTO) Southern California's Dwight Lewis (21) defends against Oregon's Jeremy Jacob (23) during the second half of their NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010, in Eugene, Ore. Oregon defeated USC 67-57. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)


That was the post-game theme after the Ducks' 67-57 victory over the USC Trojans on Saturday afternoon.

Oregon head coach Ernie Kent talked about the re-kindling of his team's spirit. Their re-dedication to this season and to the program, in general, is due in larger part to the re-emergence of spirit once lost, according to Kent.

After an embarassing five-game losing streak, the Ducks would have certainly taken victories any way they could get them. Yet, this team isn't just scraping by. Their energy, desire, and will to win -- for now -- seems to have returned and their play has represented as much. For the game, there was little difference statistically between the Ducks and Trojans. Both team snagged 30 rebounds, both teams converted approximately the number of turnovers (Oregon 14 USC 12), and both teams had virtually equal success scoring in the paint (USC 28 Oregon 26).

Intangibly, however, the difference was Oregon maintaining a level head and their competitive spirit when adversity struck. With 5:44 left in the game, the Trojans completed an impressive 9-0 run that tied things at 47 a piece. One minute later, with momentum primed to swing from one bench to the other, it did. A technical foul called on the Trojan bench appeared to suck the life out of the USC comeback, giving the Ducks the emotional boost they needed to close out the game. The technical, in fact, was called on USC's team manager who was yelling obscenities at the officials after a perceived missed call.

"I thought we had a chance to win it," said USC head coach Kevin O'Neill, "It was down to a two point game and our manager gets a technical foul.

"That's on me and that will be rectified. It already has been."

O'Neill dismissed the manager from the bench after the technical was issued and stated after the game that that particular member of his staff is, "gone".

"If somebody's going to get a technical foul, it's me. That's incomprehensible to me in a two-point game that our manager would get a technical foul."

Behind the sterling efforts of guard Malcolm Armstead and forward Jeremy Jacob, the Ducks moved 4-5 in conference play and 12-9 overall. Armstead and Jacob combined for 37 points, with Jacob leading the Ducks in scoring this afternoon with a 19 point performance.

"He's an inside presence that can score at will," said Armstead, who was a teammate of Jacob's at the junior college level, "We're just happy that he's playing and producing now and giving us what we need on the inside."

"I've known he could do this because we played together last year, but its been a matter of him coming here and being able to do this for us here."

Armstead himself had another superb game. Finishing with 18 points, four assists, and seven rebounds, Armstead is beginning to take more of a leadership role on this team.

"Malcolm can do anything he wants to do," stated Kent, "and I mean that too. That's one tough kid. He's come a long way to be here and him and J.J. (Jeremy Jacob) turned down a lot of schools in order to come here.

"Malcolm's gonna be such a leader down the road...he's a very, very good player. A very smart kid. You'll be amazed at some of the things he does out on the floor and some of the suggestions he makes for a guy who's in his first year...he's going to have a bright, bright future ahead of him."

The Trojans were led by three players who each scored in double-figures. Dwight Lewis led USC with 16 points, with Mike Gerrity chipping in 12 and Nikola Vucevic notching a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds.

The Ducks enjoy a week off before they head to Corvallis to take on Oregon State at Gill Coliseum next Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.

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