No. 6 Oregon can't allow momentum to wane on the road

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USA Today

No. 6 Oregon can't allow momentum to wane on the road

No. 7 Oregon has hit its stride. The defense has been dominant and the offense has been buzzing. 

About the only negative that can be said about the Ducks this season is that they have lost four games away from Matthew Knight Arena.

"We need to figure out how to stay focused on the road and not have letdowns," senior forward Chris Boucher told reporters on Tuesday. 

Yes, but lamenting that is nitpicking of the highest order. 

Oregon (24-4, 13-2 Pac-12) plays at California (18-8, 9-5) tonight in the final real "test" of the regular season. It's a "test" only because the game will be played away from Matthew Knight Arena where the Ducks enjoy a nation-leading, 41-game home winning streak. The Ducks squished Cal at home by the score of 86-43 on Jan. 19.  None of Oregon's final games of the season should be much trouble. Not Cal, and certainly not games at Stanford (13-13, 5-9) and Oregon State (5-23, 1-14). 

But if we were to search for a game that could hold some intrigue it would be tonight's 6 p.m. contest. 

"Cal is fighting for an NCAA berth and they'll give us everything," UO coach Dana Altman told reporters.

For that reason, UO should at least be leery. Still, if the Ducks are expecting to make a run at a national title they should be able to handle Cal in any arena. Yes, Cal does have size.

"Cal killed us with (19) offensive rebounds last time," Altman said.

Oregon had just 18 defensive rebounds. 

Nevertheless, Oregon won that game in blowout fashion. That said, Cal is a different team at home where its only two losses this season have come against No. 18 Virginia and No. 4 Arizona (25-3, 14-1). 

Let's get back to that home-away thing. Oregon's home vs. road play is slightly skewed. The Ducks are undefeated at home, which makes the four road losses appear glaring. If Oregon had two home losses and two road losses, nobody would care. So let's examine the team's four losses away from MKA. 

  1. Oregon lost at No. 9 Baylor without Dillon Brooks. Excusable. 
  2. The Ducks lost to Georgetown at the Maui Invitational the day Brooks returned to action. Hey, any loss in Hawaii is understandable. 
  3. The loss at Colorado (16-12, 6-9) could be viewed as just one of those nights, but that was at least a questionable loss. 
  4. Losing 82-79 at No. 5 UCLA (24-3, 11-3) two weeks ago was more than respectable. 

So, that's one questionable loss out of four. Not bad. For the Ducks to avoid a fifth loss away from MKA they must find the defensive mojo they seem to enjoy at home. 

"We have had some great spurts on the road with our defense, but we haven't done it for long enough periods of time," Altman said. 

Junior guard Casey Benson told reporters that the defensive energy must be produced from within because the home fans won't be able to give the team a boost. 

"We just have to pick each other up and bring our own energy," Benson said. 

From here on out the Ducks won't be able to rely on the home crowd to help them. So tonight is a good of a night as any for the Ducks to show that they don't need to play at home to be consistently dominant. 

Preview: No. 6 Oregon at California

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Preview: No. 6 Oregon at California

Don’t be fooled by their record, the California Golden Bears (18-8, 9-5 Pac-12) are a scary team to play in Haas Pavilion. Of their 18-8 overall record, the Bears are 14-2 at home. The No. 6 Oregon Ducks (24-4, 13-2 Pac-12) have quite the challenge in front of them tomorrow night at 6 p.m. in Berkeley. 

The battle of the boards has been an issue for Oregon this season. California comes into this game as one of the top rebounding teams in the conference. In their last matchup back on January 19th, the Cal Bears out rebounded the Ducks 34 to 25. Of those 34 Bears rebounds, 19 came from the offense. However, Oregon coming off a dominant rebound performance against Colorado (another top rebounding team in the conference), proved that the Ducks can fight for boards from every position, including guard play. 

Four Ducks scored in double digits back in January: Bell lead all scores (26 points), Dorsey (16 points), Benson (15 points), and Brooks (10 points). Oregon made a collective nine three’s in the first half alone. Junior forward Jordan Bell’s performance was not only dominant on the offensive end, but he held Golden Bears sophomore forward Ivan Rabb to just four points. Rabb also found himself in foul trouble finishing with four. Rabb is currently averaging a double-double. Oregon’s other main concern, besides Rabb, is Golden Bears senior guard Jabari Bird, who accounted for 21 points, 15 of which from three-point range (five-of-nine). 

One other thing that has been a real challenge for Oregon this season is getting off to a good start on the road and maintaining that energy for 40 minutes. This could continue to be a concern as Oregon’s last three conference games are on the road: California, Stanford, and Oregon State.

Following the Ducks dominant performance over Colorado last Saturday, Oregon coach Dana Altman said, ”I didn't like our defensive energy early…We made a couple bad rotations which allowed them to have some good three's that they hit. So I didn't think we were very sharp to start the game... That's something that has really got to be a focus for us here going on the road, to finish three on the road."

A quick look at the game:

No. 6 Oregon at California

Where: Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA

When: 6:00 p.m.

TV: ESPN2        

Records: Ducks (24-4, 13-2 Pac-12), Golden Bears (18-8, 9-5 Pac-12). 

Last outings: The Ducks dominated Colorado in their final home game of the season, 101-73, last Saturday. California lost 73-68 to Stanford at Stanford last Friday. 

Coaches: UO's Dana Altman (178-68 at Oregon, 588-311 Division I). California’s Cuonzo Martin (59-34 at California, 183-116 overall). 

Key Ducks: G Tyler Dorsey, 6-4, So., (13.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg, .388 3PT%), G Dylan Ennis, 6-2, Sr., (11.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, .396 3PT%), G Payton Pritchard, 6-2, Fr., (7.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg), F Jordan Bell, 6-9, Jr., (10.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.1 bpg), F Dillon Brooks, 6-7, Jr., (15.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg, .433 3PT%), F Chris Boucher, 6-10, Sr., (12.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.7 bpg).

Key Bears: F Ivan Rabb, 6-11, So., (14.8 ppg, 10.7 rpg), G Charlie Moore, 5-11, Fr., (13.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg), G Jabari Bird, 6-6, Sr., (14.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg).

Notes: This week, Oregon has clinched a first round BYE for the Pac-12 tournament coming up in March…The Ducks have their final three games on the road, rounding out their home-win streak to 42…Cal is 14-2 at home this season. 

 

Revenge is sweet, 42-home win streak is sweeter. No. 7 Oregon tops Colorado 101-73

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Revenge is sweet, 42-home win streak is sweeter. No. 7 Oregon tops Colorado 101-73

How Oregon won: Both Oregon and Colorado had its own three-point contest today on this NBA All Star weekend. Neither team hesistated behind the arc and both teams found their rhythm. The Ducks went a perfect five for five from the three-point line to start the game before finally missing. But on this Oregon senior day, senior guard Dylan Ennis, playing in front of Ducks fans one last time, stepped up big time. The vocal leader on this team, Ennis dived after loose balls, rushed to help teammates up, dished out three assists, grabbed six rebounds and finished with 20 points. His performance, along with fellow canadian teammates senior forward Chris Boucher and junior forward Dillon Brooks, helped No. 7 Oregon get its revenge over Colorado with a 101-73 win earning the Ducks their 42 straight home win to close out their season at home. 

"Absolutely. I felt really good for Chris [Boucher], played with a lot of energy, lot of focus," said Oregon coach Dana Altman. "Dylan Ennis got it going on offensively in the first half. Wish we could have got Charlie [Noebel] a bucket there but other than that a lot of good things."

The canadian trio of Ennis, Boucher, and Brooks came alive today. Collectively, they accounted for 61 points of the team's 101, 16 of the team's 38 rebounds, and four assists. Oh, Canada! 

What it means: The Ducks got their revenge rematch over Colorado who defeated them earlier in the season in Boulder, CO. Getting revenge is great and all, but doing it in commanding fashion for the last time in front of Ducks fans at Matthew Knight Arena this season is sweeter. Oregon got its final win at home this season extending its current home-win streak to now 42, which leads the nation.

A big question coming into this game was how would Oregon respond to Colorado's ability to rebound on both sides of the court? The Ducks answered that question and won the rebounding battle 38 to 24, limiting the Buffs to just seven offensive rebounds part due to how effeiciently the Ducks guards rebounded. Ennis finished with six, sophomore guard Tyler Dorsey with four, and freshman guard Payton Pritchard with three. Oregon hits the road next to California, another team who is excellent on the boards and is currently sitting fourth in the Pac-12 conference. 

"The boards really changed around, we won by 14 on the boards, which I've been on the guys the last couple days with film and that, just to get on the boards," said Altman. "Thought it was everybody coming back. I thought the guards did a good job, you know coming back and getting involved. So, no I liked plus 14 on the boards is really a good sign."

Key sequence: With 8:57 left in the first half, Ennis subbed in with the score at 26-25 Ducks lead. Oregon went on a 9-2 run to extend its lead to 35-27 thanks to Ennis' sharp shooting from all areas of the court including drives to the hoop, lay-ins, jump shots, and three-pointers. The Ducks maintained this energy and followed their leader to a 45-32 lead at halftime. 

"I didn't like our defensive energy early. I don't think we took anything away, didn't seem like we were flying around and a step late on everything," said Altman. "We made a couple bad rotations which allowed them to have some good three's that they hit. So I didn't think we were very sharp to start the game... That's something that has really got to be a focus for us here going on the road, to finish three on the road."

Colorado finished the first half and started the second on a cold shooting streak, a complete 180 turnaround from how the Buffs started the game. Oregon took advantage of this. The Ducks shot a collective 58 percent from the field and 55 percent on 16-of-29 from three-point range. They used this energy and did not let up the rest of the game.

High flying Ducks: Brooks got off to a hot start creating plays for himself and finding good looks from the three-point line. He finished leading all scores with 23 points, three rebounds, and even lead the team in blocks with three. On senior day and in front of his family watching him play in-person for the second time ever, forward Chris Boucher finished with 18 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks. Pritchard finished with 11 assists and added two steals.

Fowl play: Pritchard finished with three fouls and Boucher fouled out with 7:48 to go in the game. Boucher received a gigantic standing ovation on his way to the bench and pointed up to his family sitting in the section next to the bench.

Up next: No. 7 Oregon hits the road south to California to take on the Golden Bears (18-8, 9-5 Pac-12) at 6 p.m. next Wednesday. 

Will Oregon get revenge? Preview: Colorado at No. 7 Oregon

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Will Oregon get revenge? Preview: Colorado at No. 7 Oregon

Another tough test tomorrow for the Ducks. This game, however, has a bit more importance to it: Oregon is searching for its 42 straight home win, it’s senior day for forward Chris Boucher and guards Dylan Ennis and Charlie Noble, but more importantly, Oregon is seeking revenge. No. 7 Oregon (23-4, 12-2 Pac-12) hosts Colorado (16-11, 6-8 Pac-12) tomorrow at noon.

On January 28 of this year, Oregon was asked to do something never done before in the history of the program: win in Boulder, CO. The Ducks came up short…again. Colorado, lead by senior guard Derrick White’s 23 points and junior guard George King, the Buffs took down then No. 10 Oregon 74-65. The Ducks found loads of foul trouble and it was freshman guard Payton Pritchard that kept them somewhat in the game finishing with 19 points.

“We just got to play a lot better. We didn’t play very well,” said Oregon coach Dana Altman on the Ducks loss to Colorado. “Ball movement was awful, took a lot of bad shots, defensively our activity wasn’t very good. So again, I don’t want to take anything away from Colorado because they had much more energy than we did and they just flat beat us. So we’re going to have to play better in every facet of the game.”

Coming off a 79-61 rout over Utah at home last Thursday, Oregon struggled on rebounding and gave up 14 offensive rebounds and 19 second chance points to the Utes. Colorado is coming in as one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the conference. The Buffs rebound from all areas of the court including the guards. Buffs’ King is averaging 7.1 rebounds per game. Should be an interesting statistic to keep an eye on...

Happy senior day!

A quick look at the game:

No. 7 Oregon vs. Colorado

Where: Matthew Knight Arena, Eugene, OR

When: 12:00 p.m.

TV: FOX               

Records: Ducks (23-4, 12-2 Pac-12), Buffs (16-11, 6-8 Pac-12). 

Last outings: The Ducks routed Utah at home 79-61 for their 41st straight home win. Colorado finished strong at Oregon State, 60-52. 

Coaches: UO's Dana Altman (177-68 at Oregon, 587-311 Division I). Colorado’s Tad Boyle (146-91 at Colorado, 198-133 overall). 

Key Ducks: G Tyler Dorsey, 6-4, So., (13.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg, .394 3PT%), G Dylan Ennis, 6-2, Sr., (10.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, .392 3PT%), G Payton Pritchard, 6-2, Fr., (8.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg), F Jordan Bell, 6-9, Jr., (10.8 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.1 bpg), F Dillon Brooks, 6-7, Jr., (14.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg, .410 3PT%), F Chris Boucher, 6-10, Sr., (12.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.7 bpg).

Key Buffs: G Derrick White, 6-5, Sr., (17.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg), G George King, 6-6, Jr., (11.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg), G/F Xavier Johnson, 6-7, Sr., (14.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg), F Wesley Gordon, 6-9, Sr., (7.0 ppg, 7.2 rpg).

Notes: The Ducks searching for their 42 straight home win in their last home game of the season…It’s Oregon senior day for Chris Boucher, Dylan Ennis, and Charlie Noble…

No. 7 Oregon electrifies Utah... and not just by the uniforms...Ducks cruise to 79-61 win

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No. 7 Oregon electrifies Utah... and not just by the uniforms...Ducks cruise to 79-61 win

How Oregon won: The No. 7 Ducks started the game off the same as the color of their uniforms: energized. Oregon's offense caught Utah sleeping under the basket and took advantage of that space due to an injured Utah forward Kyle Kuzma, who was out for tonight's game due to an ankle sprain. The Ducks' ball movement improved thanks to freshman guard Payton Pritchard dishing out seven assists and finding the hot hands of sophomore guard Tyler Dorsey, junior forward Dillon Brooks, and junior forward Jordan Bell. Oregon (23-4, 12-2 Pac-12) rolled to a 79-61 victory over the Utes (17-9, 8-6 Pac-12) and earned its 41st straight home win.

"Well I thought, defensively, our activity was pretty good for the most part," said Oregon coach Dana Altman following the game. "We did hold them to 38 percent and if you take nine putbacks off that then we really did play well defensively.... 18 assists I though was pretty good, we had too many turnovers, we got sloppy, we left our feet a lot... but all in all it was a good win. And now we got a quick turn around, we play at noon on Saturday, so got to put this one behind us pretty quick and get ready for the next one."

Although Oregon won the rebounding battle 38 to 31, the Utes grabbed 14 offensive rebounds leading to 19 second-chance points. Yikes. This was even without 6-foot-9 forward Kuzma in the game. Oregon will have to clean this up with only one home game and three away games left before the Pac-12 Tournament. 

"That was a big disappointment," said Altman. "19 to 3 second chance points, usually with a number like that you don't win the game. With Colorado and Cal coming up, two best offensive rebounding teams in the league, very disappointing stat."

Defensively, besides the rebounding, Oregon looked solid and grabbed 31 defensive rebounds that lead to 14 fast break points. Bell and senior forward Chris Boucher showed why they are two of the nation's leading shot-blockers with eight of the team's 10 blocks. When the Ducks cause turnovers and push the tempo, this is where Oregon basketball thrives.    

What it means: In the last week alone, Oregon has struggle to maintain a lead. Against UCLA, the Ducks had a 19-point lead that slowly diminished. Not tonight. Oregon jumped to a quick 16-point lead at half and kept it this time. However, the Ducks did commit 13 turnovers and will need to clean this up. Thank goodness Utah had a poor night shooting from the field at just 38 percent.

Key sequence: Out of the half and with a 16-point lead, the Ducks continued to control the pace and rhythm of the game. They didn't take their foot off the gas once they had a double digit lead. With the score 41-25 at half, Oregon's 16-point lead quickly jumped to a 20-plus and stayed there until the end.  

High flying Ducks: Dorsey found his shot early and often to finish with 16 points on six-of-eleven shooting from the field. Brooks finished with 20 points on nine-for-13 shooting and another posterizing dunk. Bell finished with 17 points, seven rebounds, and five blocks.  

Fowl play: It was a solid defensive effort with minimal fouling, but Dorsey and junior forward Kavell Bigby-Williams finished with three fouls each.

Up next: Oregon hosts Colorado (16-11, 6-8 Pac-12) at noon on Saturday. The Ducks lost  74-65 at Colorado on Jan. 28.

Boucher's mom in attendance for first time EVER. Preview: No. 7 Oregon vs. Utah

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Boucher's mom in attendance for first time EVER. Preview: No. 7 Oregon vs. Utah

It’s senior week down here in Eugene, OR and the last week playing in front of Matthew Knight Arena Ducks fans for forward Chris Boucher, guard Dylan Ennis, and guard Charlie Noebel. How will the Ducks respond to such an emotional time? We’ll find out at 6:05 p.m. tomorrow evening as No. 7 Oregon (22-4, 11-2 Pac-12) hosts Utah (17-8, 8-5 Pac-12).

“Well they’re still scoring a lot of points,” said Oregon coach Dana Altman. “Very good offensive team and really hurt us with the dribble-penetration so we’ll have to do a lot better job there. Very explosive team.”

It’s that time of the year to play teams twice.

Let’s rewind three weeks to Thursday, January 26th. Oregon came away with a 73-67 victory over the Utes in Salt Lake City. Although Oregon got the win, Utah’s big men, junior’s David Collette and Kyle Kuzma, had quite the impact under the basket. Kuzma nearly recorded a double-double finishing with 18 points and nine rebounds. He also went two-of-four from behind the arc, so he isn’t afraid to shoot the deep ball when given good looks. 

Boucher and Bell will have their hands full containing both Collette and Kuzma. However, Boucher will have some added energy because this will be the first game EVER that his mom will be in attendance for one of his basketball games. 

“I’m going to be happy to be capable to look at her, that’s really going to help me out,” said Boucher. “But I’m going to play the same way and bring what I have to do for the team.”

The Ducks will also seek to extend their home-win streak to 41 games.

A quick look at the game:

No. 7 Oregon vs. Utah

Where: Matthew Knight Arena, Eugene, OR

When: 6:05 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Records: Ducks (22-4, 11-2 Pac-12), Utes (17-8, 8-5 Pac-12). 

Last outings: The Ducks ended their road trip splitting the L.A. schools with a 81-70 win over the USC Trojans. Utah routed Washington at home 85-61. 

Coaches: UO's Dana Altman (176-68 at Oregon, 586-311 Division I). Utah’s Larry Krystkowiak (112-81 at Utah, 154-101 overall). 

Key Ducks: G Tyler Dorsey, 6-4, So., (13.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg, .395 3PT%), G Dylan Ennis, 6-2, Sr., (10.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, .392 3PT%), G Payton Pritchard, 6-2, Fr., (8.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg), F Jordan Bell, 6-9, Jr., (10.8 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.1 bpg), F Dillon Brooks, 6-7, Jr., (14.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg, .410 3PT%), F Chris Boucher, 6-10, Sr., (12.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.7 bpg).

Key Utes: F David Collette, 6-10, Jr., (14.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg), G Devon Daniels, 6-5, Fr., (10.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg), F Kyle Kuzma, 6-9, Jr., (15.7 ppg, 10.2 rpg), G Lorenzo Bonam, 6-4, Sr., (13.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg).

Notes: Jordan Bell is the only player in the Pac-12 ranked in the top 10 in rebounds (9th), blocks (4th) and steals (9th). He is also second in the league in fi eld goal percentage (.614)…The last three seasons, the Ducks are undefeated (17-0) after Valentines’ Day…The Ducks lead the nation at 6.9 blocks per game, and also lead the nation in total blocks with 179. Individually, Chris Boucher is 13th nationally in blocks per game (2.7), with Jordan Bell 38th (2.1 bpg).

No. 5 Oregon in need of a big road win tonight at No. 10 UCLA

No. 5 Oregon in need of a big road win tonight at No. 10 UCLA

As impressive as No. 5 Oregon's season has been to date there is one element missing: an impressive road victory.

The Ducks (21-3, 10-1 Pac-12) venture into Pauley Pavilion at 7 p.m. tonight to face No. 10 UCLA (21-3, 8-3) in a game that could accomplish two goals for Oregon:

1. Put a death grip on the Pac-12 regular season championship race.

2. Add a big road victory to the team's résumé. 

On the negative side, a loss would make the final stretch of the regular season for Oregon rather dicey with four of the final six games coming on the road.

"We know on the road it's a lot tougher," senior forward Chris Boucher said. "But if we stay together we know that if we can do amazing things."

All of Oregon's victories against the conference powerhouses (UCLA, Arizona, California and USC) have come at Matthew Knight Arena where the Ducks have a nation-leading 40-game home winning streak.

The Ducks' most impressive road win to date is a 73-67 victory at sixth-place Utah (15-8, 6-5) on Jan. 26.  The Ducks followed that up by losing 74-65 at tenth-place Colorado (13-11, 3-8) and then last Thursday struggled with ninth-place Arizona State (11-14, 4-8), avoiding disaster by pulling out a 71-70 victory at home.

Oregon can't play like it did at Colorado or against ASU and expect to win against a revenge-minded UCLA that is in a must-win situation to remain alive in the race for the regular season championship. Nor can Oregon expect to go deep into the NCAA Tournament without passing some tough road tests.  

"We've just got to stay locked in," senior guard Dylan Ennis said. "Got to stay focused. We can't get comfortable."

Ennis said that team did become a bit comfortable after winning 17 consecutive games leading up to the loss at Colorado. Included in that winning streak was a dramatic, 89-87 win at home over the Bruins that ended on a Dillon Brooks three-pointer at the buzzer.

"I think we've gotten better since then," Boucher said. "We learned a lot from that game. When we've got a lead we've got to keep it. I think now we're playing more together."

Oregon never played more together than it did on Saturday during an 85-58 win over No. 9 Arizona (22-3, 11-1). The Ducks went bonkers, shooting 65.2 percent from the field and 64 percent (16 of 25) from three-point range. Oregon had 26 assists on 30 field goals. The greatness that day didn't stop there.

"What won it for us was our defense," Ennis said.

Oregon held Arizona to 42.6 percent shooting and forced 13 turnovers that led to 30 points off turnovers. That effort enabled the Ducks to extend an early lead rather than blow it as they did against the Bruins before pulling out the win. 

The Ducks will need all of the defense it can muster against the Bruins, who lead the Pac-12 in scoring (92.9 points per game), field goal percentage (53.5), three-point shooting (42.4) and assists per game (22). 

"On the defensive end if we could stop (UCLA), we'll be fine," Ennis said.

Helping with that will be improved team positivity.

"I think now we're more positive because we know what each other is going to do," Ennis said. "We know how to talk to each other a lot better, and I think our positivity helps our game on the court because everybody is encouraging somebody, if somebody falls the whole team is going to pick them up."

Ducks fly to No. 5 in AP poll

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Ducks fly to No. 5 in AP poll

The Oregon Ducks (21-3, 10-1 Pac-12), previously ranked No. 13, shot up to No. 5 in the latest AP poll released this morning.

The top 5 are No. 1 Gonzaga, No. 2 Villanova, No. 3 Kansas, No. 4 Louisville and then Oregon.

The Ducks are No. 6 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

The highest AP ranking Oregon has been so far this season was No. 4 back in week 2 before a loss at Baylor.  

Oregon is one of three Pac-12 teams in the AP top 25 along with No. 9 Arizona and No. 10 UCLA.

Following last Saturday’s 85-58 rout of then-No. 5 Arizona (21-3, 10-1 Pac-12), Oregon sits at the top of the Pac-12 standings. But the upcoming week for the Ducks could be difficult.

Of the final seven games for Oregon, five will be on the road. The Ducks head south this week to take on UCLA (21-3, 8-3 Pac-12) at 7 p.m., Thursday and then to go to USC (20-4, 7-4 Pac-12) for a Saturday game at 7:30.

The Ducks return home the following week to host Utah and Colorado. UO lost at Colorado two weeks ago. The Ducks  finish their season on the road at Cal, Stanford, and Oregon State. 

If Oregon wants to remain at the top of the conference, they likely must win out. Arizona is right behind the Ducks in the standings and seem to have the easier schedule between down the stretch.

After the Arizona game last Saturday, Oregon coach Dana Altman stressed the importance of focusing one game at a time. 

The Ducks were named the NBCSports Team of the Week this week after their dominant home win over Arizona.

Forecast in Eugene: Oregon reign. No. 13 Ducks defeat No. 5 Arizona 85-58

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Forecast in Eugene: Oregon reign. No. 13 Ducks defeat No. 5 Arizona 85-58

How Oregon won: Wow. By far the loudest Matthew Knight Arena has been this season so far. Every shot, block, rebound, steal, assist was complimented with ear-popping cheering from Ducks fans. This importance of this game was not underestimated in the slightest. The Pit Crew, Oregon's student section, was present from the very start: on the Ducks first possession junior forward Dillon Brooks drove to the hoop for the score and the Pit Crew celebrated by throwing some sort of powder in the air, much of which landed on the commentators table and on Bill Walton's back, as well as the court. Oregon was charged with a delay of game, but it sparked the Ducks already present energy even greater. No. 13 Oregon rode this spark all the way to an 85-58 win over No. 5 Arizona.

"Our energy level was really good because the shots were falling," said Oregon coach Dana Altman following the game. "The crowd was unbelievable today, it was a great atmosphere and our guys really responded. You don't anticipate shooting it that well, but one we got that floor spread, our guys were making plays for each other."

Following Oregon's 71-70 home win over Arizona State last Thursday, Altman was concerned with his team's energy level heading into today's game. It looked like the team put that close win behind them and came out with a fresh, focused mind on both ends of the court. On the offensive side, the Ducks had some of their best ball movement so far this season, getting everyone involved. Drive and kicks, drive and kicks, and taking good shots lead Oregon to finish 30-46 from the field (.650%) and 16-25 (.640%) from three-point range.

The defense, however, is what started it all. On several occasions, the Ducks forced Arizona into bad shots with the shot clock winding down. More importantly, they pulled down 23 defensive rebounds and didn't allow Wildcats 7' footers Lauri Markkanen and Dusan Ristic easy put backs.  

What it means: Every player contributed in some way. This was a team win for sure. The Ducks came to play in every aspect. If Oregon can have this good of ball movement and get everyone involved, and yes have a good shooting night, this team will be dangerous down the stretch. Good ball movement lead to good shots, generally behind the three-point line, for sophomore guard Tyler Dorsey, who went six-of-six from three and junior guard Casey Benson, who went three-of-five from three. Brooks also finished four-of-seven from three-point range.

This win also handed Arizona its first conference loss. The Wildcats are now 10-1 in the Pac-12, and could mean much more at the end of conference play and for seeding in March Maddness. But let's not get too far ahead. The Ducks have a tough schedule ahead. 

Oh, and Oregon continued its current home-win streak to 40 games. What a day for Oregon basketball and Ducks fans.

Key sequence: Right from opening tip, this was Oregon's game. Brooks layup, Brooks three-pointer, and a junior forward Jordan Bell dunk started this game off right for the Ducks. Sounds familiar. With all eyes on Brooks and Bell, this opened the door for Dorsey and Benson to find their shot behind the arc. The Ducks continued this game plan and found good shooters on a 19-0 run at the end of the first half and lead the Wildcats 38-18 at halftime. 

High flying Ducks: Brooks started the game on a good note for the Ducks and finished with 18 points, five rebounds and three assists, but it was all Dorsey for the Ducks in this one. Dorsey finished with 23 points, three rebounds and four assists.

Fowl play: Brooks picked up two fouls in the first half. Other than that, it was a good, clean defensive effort from the Ducks. 

Up next: No. 13 Oregon hits the road south to No. 11 UCLA (20-3, 7-3 Pac-12) at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

Preview: Here we go. No. 13 Oregon hosts No. 5 Arizona

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Preview: Here we go. No. 13 Oregon hosts No. 5 Arizona

The day has finally come. The game that most Ducks and Wildcats fans have circled on their calendars. The game that has been highly anticipated since the schedule came out. This game has everything Ducks fans have been waiting for… No. 13 Oregon (20-3, 9-1 Pac-12) hosts undefeated No. 5 Arizona Wildcats (21-2, 10-0 Pac-12) at 1 p.m. tomorrow afternoon at Matthew Knight Arena.

Let’s take a flashback to last season. The game was No. 23 at No. 18 Arizona. The Ducks marched into Arizona territory, as underdogs, and came away with a 83-75 win. But this was more than just another W in the won column for Oregon. Oregon put an end to Arizona’s 49-game home win streak. 

This year, the role of home-win streak breaker will be played by Arizona. The Ducks are currently sitting on a 39-game home win streak. The ultimate revenge.

“We got to approach every game as underdogs,” said junior forward Dillon Brooks following Oregon’s win last Thursday vs. ASU. “We approached Colorado as the top and look what happened. They played harder than us and we played soft. We got to come out there and play hard-nosed and listen to coach Altman because you know he’s been here and just play hard.”

The last two games for Oregon have been quite different than the rest of the season. One week ago, Oregon suffered its first conference loss of the season at Colorado and then struggled at home against unranked Arizona State, edging past the Sun Devils 71-70. The Ducks cannot afford to be in any sort of slump vs. the Wildcats.

“They’re a very good team so we’ll have to play our A-game, there’s no doubt about it,” said Oregon coach Dana Altman. “Their athleticism and you know they’ve won 15, 16 in a row whatever it is. So they’ll be ready to go. I think our guys will be ready, but we’re going to have to play a lot better than what we’re playing.”

Here we go.

A quick look at the game:

No. 13 Oregon vs. No. 5 Arizona

Where: Matthew Knight Arena, Eugene, OR. 

When: 1 p.m., Saturday, February 4, 2017.

TV: ESPN

Records: Ducks (20-3 overall, 9-1 Pac-12), Wildcats (21-2, 10-0 Pac-12). 

Last outings: The Ducks are coming off a close one vs. Arizona State, 71-70 last Thursday at home. Arizona defeated Oregon State up in Corvallis, 71-54.

Coaches: UO's Dana Altman (174-67 at Oregon, 584-310 Division I). Arizona’s Sean Miller (209-63 at Arizona, 329-110 overall). 

Key Ducks: G Tyler Dorsey, 6-4, So., (12.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg), G Dylan Ennis, 6-2, Sr., (11.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg, .390 3PT%), G Payton Pritchard, 6-2, Fr., (8.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg), F Jordan Bell, 6-9, Jr., (11.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 2.1 bpg), F Dillon Brooks, 6-7, Jr., (14.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg), F Chris Boucher, 6-10, Sr., (12.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.8 bpg).

Key Wildcats: G Parker Jackson-Cartwright, 5-11, Jr. (5.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg), G Kadeem Allen, 6-3, R-Sr., (9.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg), F Lauri Markkanen, 7-0, Fr. (16.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg), G Allonzo Trier, 6-5, So., (14.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg), C Dusan Ristic, 7-0, Jr., (11.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg).

Notes: Oregon searching for 40 consecutive wins at home....Both Oregon and Arizona are the top teams in the Pac-12....