Ducks Power Past Cougars

Many basketball 'experts' around the nation have said that the University of Oregon Ducks need to make three pointers in order to win any game anywhere. <BR><BR> <I>Oregon guard Luke Jackson (33) gets fouled by Washington State forward Milton Riley (25) in the second half at Friel Court in Pullman, Wash. Thursday, Feb. 20, 2003. Oregon won 89-70. (AP Photo/Kevin German)</I>

If you would have told them that tonight the Ducks would go 5-11 from beyond the arc and win, they would have told you that you were crazy. They would have said the Ducks would have needed to take and connect on more long balls. Those 'experts' would have been wrong tonight, however, as the Ducks went to Pullman and pulled out an 89-70 victory against the Washington State Cougars.

(PHOTO RIGHT)Oregon guard Andre Josep, right, relaxes on the sidelines during the final minutes against Washington State at Friel Court in Pullman, Wash., on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2003. Oregon won 89-70. (AP Photo/Kevin German)

Since the three point shots weren't falling, or being taken by the Ducks (18-6, 8-5) for that matter, Oregon was forced to go to their set offense and transition game in order to get their points tonight. Repeatedly the Ducks were able to find open players inside for easy hoops. Luke Jackson, Ian Crosswhite and Robert Johnson all found themselves open underneath for buckets throughout the game.

After a slightly slow start for the Ducks, including the Ducks only leading the Cougars (5-18, 0-14) by one point with about 5:00 to go in the half they were able to get their act together and hold a 38-29 first half lead.

(PHOTO LEFT)Oregon guard Luke Ridnour (13) drives past Washington State guard Jerry McNair (3) in the second half at Friel Court in Pullman, Wash. Thursday, Feb. 20, 2003. Oregon won 89-70. (AP Photo/Kevin German)

The second half opened up with the Ducks jumping out to a huge 55-36 lead behind Luke Ridnour, Robert Johnson and Andre Joseph. The Ducks were able to control the flow from there on out, running when they wanted to, then slowing it down and running their set pieces to perfection, stymieing the Cougars.

"We're starting to figure things out offensively," Oregon Coach Ernie Kent told OSN after the game.

One of the keys tonight for the Ducks was Washington State's inability to handle the ball. The Cougars committed 18 turnovers tonight compared to Oregon's 12. Many of the Ducks' turnovers were committed late in the second half with the result already decided.

(PHOTO RIGHT) Washington State guard Jerry McNair drives past Oregon forward Ian Crosswhite (11) and guard Luke Ridnour (13) in the first half at Friel Court in Pullman, Wash., on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2003. (AP Photo/Kevin German)

The Ducks also did a great job moving the ball around again tonight. On 32 made shots, the Men of Oregon had 22 assists. Luke Ridnour dished the ball more than anyone, dropping seven dimes in tonight's contest.

Washington State was led by Jerry McNair's 20 points on 7-12 shooting tonight. Randy Green also added 18 points in 36 minutes.

(PHOTO LEFT) Washington State guard Jerry McNair (3) tries to go around Oregon guard Andre Joseph (35) in the second half at Friel Court in Pullman, Wash., on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2003. Oregon won 89-70. (AP Photo/Kevin German)

Luke Jackson returned to the form many Duck fans are used to seeing tonight, scoring 24 points on 8-10 shooting in 31 minutes. Luke Ridnour added 21 points. Eight of those points came on consecutive free throws, adding to his own Pac-10 record, which now stands at 59 straight made free throws. Andre Joseph and Robert Johnson added 14 and 12 points respectively. Johnson also grabbed eight boards.

(PHOTO RIGHT) Washington State guard Chris Schlatter (5) fouls Oregon forward Ian Crosswhite in the second half at Friel Court in Pullman, Wash., Thursday, Feb. 20, 2003. Oregon won 89-70. (AP Photo/Kevin German)

Washington State will next face the Oregon State Beavers in Pullman on Saturday. That game will start at 6:00.

The Ducks will next travel to Seattle to face the University of Washington Huskies at Hec Ed Pavilion.

That will be a key game for both teams in terms of seeding at the Pac-10 Tournament. Oregon and Washington will tip-off at 4:00 on FSN.

"If we can get it done on Saturday, this team will be in great position for the rest of the year," Kent told OSN.

Stats from www.goducks.com.


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