Same Old Story In Loss To Stanford

The Oregon men dropped their fourth straight Pac-10 Conference game in a hotly contested 72-65 defeat at the hands of the Stanford Cardinal. The winner of tonight's game would emerge from the conference cellar, while the loser would sink further behind in the beleaguered league.

The road of frustration the Oregon basketball team has traveled down has become a bonafide trail of tears as of late. In their last eleven games, Oregon's record is 2-9; 0-for-4 in what has been a torturous start to the month of February.

What gives?

Tajuan Porter, the man who was labelled by head coach Ernie Kent as the team's clearcut leader in the preseason, has been ice cold the during arguably the most important stretch of the season, converting on only seven of his last 36 shots from the field. With his confidence clearly shaken, when Porter will finally thaw is anyone's guess.

Injuries have also taken it's toll on the fragile team this season. With forward Joevan Catron having already missed the majority of his senior season due to a back injury, the Ducks have been thin in the front court. The absence of sophomore center Michael Dunigan and freshman forward Jamil Wilson, who both missed this evening's game against the Cardinal with hip and ankle ailments respectively, only adds insult to injury.

So the question remains. What gives?

According to Kent, the Ducks woes can be blamed on chaotic management of the basketball during criticial stretches of games.

"It's so similar to so many other games where we're playing for 26, 27, 28 minutes in the game but those other 12, 13 minutes are just killing us right now, said Kent,

"Those [minutes] are coming with turnovers, bad fouls that are giving free throws, or missed layups, or a couple of bad basketball plays along the's more a lack of composure and poise."

While the Ducks and Cardinal were fairly even statiscally, Oregon was doomed by a stretch midway through the second half that exemplified a lack of composure and poise. A two-point Oregon deficit balloon to 17 points over a five minute span that included five Duck turnovers over the course of ten Oregon possessions. Many of these turnovers came at the hands of Porter and Malcolm Armstead who combined for eight turnovers on the evening. The obvious breakdown in guard play was something Kent alluded to in his post-game press conference.

"You've got to have outstanding guard play, said Kent,

"We kind of go as our guards go -- and this is not blaming the game on them -- they just had a bad game. Malcolm had a bad stretch, TP had another bad game in terms of his shooting...we've just got to continue to plug away."

Three Ducks were in double-figures scoring tonight as Jeremy Jacob led Oregon in points with 19, while E.J. Singler and Matthew Humphrey contributed 15 and 11 points, respectively. Jacob and Singler also did proper work on the glass as both players pull down eight rebounds a piece in the loss.

Behind the stellar play of forwards Landry Fields and Jeremy Green, the Cardinal maintained control of the lead for most of the game. The Cardinal had four players hit double-figures in scoring as Fields and Green spearheaded Stanford combining for nearly 40 points (Fields 21, Green 18) as a tandem.

The Oregon men (12-13 overall, 4-9 in conference) face the Pac-10 leading California Golden Bears (17-9, 9-5) Saturday afternoon at McArthur Court. Tip-off is set for 3:00 p.m.

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