Preview: Stanford at No. 11 Oregon

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Preview: Stanford at No. 11 Oregon

This game is more than just another win, although some Oregon players and coaches just see it that way. No. 11 Oregon is one step closer to history following its 86-63 win over California last Thursday night and welcome unranked Stanford (11-8, 3-4 Pac-12) tomorrow at 3 p.m.

With an Oregon win, first of all the Ducks will now be sitting on a 16-game win streak, the longest in program history and breaking the previous 15-game win streak over 100 years ago. Second, if the Ducks win, Oregon extends its home win streak to 38 games, second in the nation behind Kansas (49 games). A win last Thursday also secured Oregon coach Dana Altman's 20th straight winning season. What a week for Oregon basketball.  

A big question raised following Thursday's win against California is the status of junior forward Dillon Brooks, who walked off the court just before halftime with an apparent foot injury. Altman said the trainers are evaluating him and the team is waiting on the diagnosis.  

The 3-4 Stanford Cardinal started off the season 0-4 and has won the last three straight partly due to the activity of junior forward Reid Travis and a force under the hoop of junior forward Michael Humphrey. 

A quick look at the game:

Stanford at No. 11 Oregon

Where: Matthew Knight Arena, Eugene, Ore. 

When: 3:00 p.m., Saturday January 21, 2017.

TV: Pac-12 Networks. 

Records: Ducks (17-2, 6-0 Pac-12), Cardinal (11-8, 3-4 Pac-12).   

Last outings: Oregon extended its current win streak to 15 with a dominant 86-63 performance at home over California. Stanford cruised past Oregon State in Corvallis, OR, 62-46. 

Coaches: UO's Dana Altman (171-66 at Oregon, 581-309 Division I). Stanford's Jerod Haase (11-8 at Stanford, 80-53 at Alabama-Birmingham).

Key Ducks: G Tyler Dorsey, 6-4, So., (12.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, .385 3FG pct.), G Dylan Ennis, 6-2, Sr., (11.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.6 apg), G Payton Pritchard, 6-2, Fr., (8.1 ppg, 3.9 apg), F Jordan Bell, 6-9, Jr., (11.0 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.2 bpg), F Chris Boucher, 6-10, Sr., (13.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg).

Key Cardinal: F Michael Humphrey, 6-9, Jr. (9.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg), F Reid Travis, 6-8, Jr., (16.6 ppg, 8.9 rpg), G Marcus Allen, 6-3, Sr., (5.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg). 

Notes: An Oregon victory will break the programs' all-time winning streak of 15 games...Stanford has won the last three Pac-12 games in a row....Oregon looks to extend home win streak to 38 games. 

 

No. 11 Oregon chasing history; win 86-63 over Cal

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No. 11 Oregon chasing history; win 86-63 over Cal

How Oregon won: No. 11 Oregon made itself very comfortable from the three-point line tonight. The Ducks went 11-of-24 collectively as a team from three-point range behind the hot hand of junior guard Casey Benson's 5-of-5, 100 percent from the arc. No. 11 Oregon (17-2, 6-0 Pac-12) earned its 15th straight win with a 86-63 victory over the Cal Bears (13-6, 4-3 Pac-12).

"I've been saying it all along, if we take good ones, you know I thought we were better than what we were showing from the three," said Oregon coach Altman on his team's three-point percentage tonight. "I don't think we are going to be a 45 percent team, but we can shoot 40 [percent]. So it was a really good night for us. Casey [Benson] going 5-for-5 was really great." 

All eyes were on junior forward Dillon Brooks towards the end of the first half, but this time around was a different feeling. With 45 seconds remaining in the first half, junior forward Dillon Brooks left the court and headed for the locker room. He did not come back out with the team to warm up after halftime for what seemed to be a left foot injury. Brooks injured the same foot and was out for a few games at the beginning of the season. Still no word as to his condition or status for Stanford or beyond.

What it means: With this win, the Ducks are chasing history one step at a time. First of all, Oregon has now seven consecutive winning seasons. The last time this occured was 77 years ago (1934-1940). Second, this win extends Oregon's home win streak to 37, second in the nation behind Kansas (49 games). And third, the Ducks now sit on a 15-game win streak, which ties the longest in all-time Oregon program history. 

Key sequence: At 17:22 in the first half, it was Casey Benson's time to shine. It may seem simple, but Benson hit back-to-back huge three-pointers to extend the Ducks lead 16-12. But these two shots did more than just increase the score. Oregon rode the energy Benson brought off the bench and sparked a 9-3 run including a monster dunk from senior forward Chris Boucher to get him going as well. 

High flying Ducks: Off the bench, Benson demonstrated his leadership right away replacing Pritchard (foul trouble). Benson hit two quick three-pointers (both assists from Ennis), and wan't afraid to get physical under the hoop knocking the ball away from the Bears' big guys. Benson finished with 15 points on a perfect 5-of-5 from three-point range. Sophomore guard Tyler Dorsey was fearless driving to the hoop and either getting himself to the free throw line (he went 7-of-9) or dished out six assists. Tonight's MVP was junior forward Jordan Bell who finished with 26 points, six rebounds, two assists, and four blocks.  

Fowl play: Freshman guard Payton Pritchard got hit with two fouls early on and was forced to ride the bench most of the first half. Benson relieved him just three minutes into the game.

Up next: The Ducks host unranked Stanford (10-8, 2-4 Pac-12) for a mid-afternoon 3 p.m. start this Saturday at Matthew Knight Arena. 

No.11 Oregon hosts Cal with streaks on line as schedule toughens

No.11 Oregon hosts Cal with streaks on line as schedule toughens

Riding a 14-game winning streak and the second-longest active home winning streak in the NCAA (36 games), No.11 Oregon hosts Cal on Thursday. 

Oregon (16-2 overall, 5-0 Pac-12) has certainly found momentum, as the Ducks have beaten their past four opponents by an average of 26.5 points. However, those four opponents (Oregon State, Washington State, Washington, USC) all place in the bottom half of the Pac-12 Conference. 

The Golden Bears, currently at fourth-place, are coming off a big weekend of their own. Cal (13-5, 4-2) swept Washington and Washington State at home, including a last minute win over the Cougars. 

The question that looms... Can the Ducks continue to dominate during a tougher stretch of their schedule? After Cal, Oregon hosts Stanford, which also swept the Washington schools last weekend, before traveling to fifth-place Utah on Jan. 26. 

A quick look at the game:

Oregon vs. Washington

Where: Matthew Knight Arena, Eugene, Ore. 

When: 6:05 p.m., Thursday January 19, 2017.

TV: ESPN2. 

Records: Ducks (16-2 overall, 5-0 Pac-12), Golden Bears (13-5, 4-2). 

Last outings: Oregon defeated Oregon State in record fashion, 85-43, at home. Cal snuck by Washington State, 58-54. 

Coaches: UO's Dana Altman (170-66 at Oregon, 580-309 Division I). Oregon’s next victory will secure Altman’s 20th straight winning season. Cal's Cuonzo Martin (54–31 at Cal, 178-113 overall).

Key Ducks: G Tyler Dorsey, 6-4, So., (12.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg, .391 3FG pct.), G Dylan Ennis, 6-2, Sr., (11.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.6 apg), G Payton Pritchard, 6-2, Fr., (8.3 ppg, 3.6 apg), F Jordan Bell, 6-9, Jr., (10.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.2 bpg), F Dillon Brooks, 6-7, Jr., (13.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg), F Chris Boucher, 6-10, Sr., (13.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.9 bpg).

Key Bears: F Ivan Rabb, 6-11, So. (15.6 ppg, 11.1 rpg), G Charlie Moore, 5-11, Fr., (14.6 ppg, 3.1 apg), G Jabari Bird, 6-6, Sr. (13.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg).

Notes: Important program milestones; the next Oregon victory will guarantee its seventh-straight winning season (which hasn't happened since 1934-40), an Oregon victory will also tie the programs' all-time winning streak of 15 games. 

Dillon Brooks will not face suspension, cleared to play in Civil War

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Dillon Brooks will not face suspension, cleared to play in Civil War

Oregon junior forward Dillon Brooks is officially back. It was reported this week from ESPN writer and reporter Andy Katz that the league decided Brooks will not face any suspension for his actions during the WSU game.

No. 13 Oregon, (then No. 15), ended its first conference road trip with a 85-66 win at Washington State late afternoon last Saturday. At the 13:25 minute mark in the first half, Brooks was going after his own rebound at the hoop, fell to the ground, and his foot, that was caught under him, snapped up and hit Cougars forward Josh Hawkinson in the groin. The referees called a flagrant two on Brooks and by rule an automatic ejection. 

The Pac-12 reviewed the play on Sunday and reporter no additional penalties to Brooks. 

Brooks is cleared to play in the first chapter of the Civil War this season vs. Oregon State (4-13, 0-4 Pac-12) at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday.

Oregon's Dillon Brooks named USBWA national player of the week

Oregon's Dillon Brooks named USBWA national player of the week

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has selected Oregon's Dillon Brooks as its Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week for games ending the week of Sunday, Jan. 1.

The USBWA's weekly honor is presented by Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook.

Brooks was also named Pac-12 player of the week

Brooks, a Naismith and Wooden Award national player of the year candidate, averaged 25.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals during victories over No. 4 UCLA and No. 25 USC. Brooks made 18 of 30 shots (60 percent) during the week. 

Oregon next plays at 6 p.m., tonight at Washington on ESPN2.

2016-17 Oscar Robertson National Players of the Week
• Week ending Dec. 11: Josh Hart, Villanova (Big East Conference)
• Week ending Dec. 18: Malik Monk, Kentucky (Southeastern Conference)
• Week ending Dec. 25: Quentin Snider, Louisville (Atlantic Coast Conference)
• Week ending Jan. 1: Dillon Brooks, Oregon (Pac-12 Conference)

 

Preview: No. 15 Oregon at Washington

Preview: No. 15 Oregon at Washington

After a home sweep over UCLA and USC last week, Oregon (13-2, 2-0 Pac-12) moved up to No. 15 from No. 21. Oregon hits the road for the first time in six weeks to visit Washington on Wednesday night. 

Zero current Oregon players have won in Seattle. The Ducks were defeated at Washington two years ago and did not visit the Washington schools last season. 

However, Oregon, winners of 11 straight, still has plenty of momentum on its side. Dillon Brooks was named Pac-12 Player of the Week following his performance during Oregon's victories over previously unbeated and nationally ranked UCLA and USC. He averaged 25.5 points, on 60 percent shooting, as well as 6.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game. 

A quick look at the game:

Oregon vs. Washington

Where: Alaska Airlines Arena, Seattle, Wash.

When: 6:05 p.m.

TV: ESPN2. 

Records: Ducks (13-2 overall, 2-0 Pac-12), Huskies (7-6, 0-1). 

Last outings: Oregon cruised by then ranked No. 22 USC, 84-61. The Huskies lost to Washington State in their Pac-12 opener, 79-74. 

Coaches: UO's Dana Altman (167-66 at Oregon, 577-309 Division I),  who reached 700 career wins on Dec. 30 versus USC. Washington's Lorenzo Romar (288-171 at Washington, 381–259 overall).

Key Ducks: G Tyler Dorsey, 6-4, So., (12.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg, .378 3FG pct.), G Dylan Ennis, 6-2, Sr., (11.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.3 apg), G Payton Pritchard, 6-2, Fr., (7.8 ppg, 4.1 apg), F Jordan Bell, 6-9, Jr., (10.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.3 bpg), F Dillon Brooks, 6-7, Jr., (14.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg), F Chris Boucher, 6-10, Sr., (13.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 3.1 bpg).
 

Key Huskies: G Markelle Fultz, 6-4, Fr. (22.3 ppg, 6.7 apg), F Noah Dickerson, 6-8, So., (8.7 rpg), F Malik Dime, 6-9, Sr. (2.8 bpg).

Notes: Six of the last seven meetings between Oregon and Washington have been decided by 10 points or less. The Ducks’ next victory will be the 1,600th win in school history.

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No. 15 Oregon's Dillon Brooks named Pac-12 player of the week

No. 15 Oregon's Dillon Brooks named Pac-12 player of the week

Oregon junior forward Dillon Brooks has been named Pac-12 player of the week. 

Brooks, a Naismith and Wooden Award national player of the year candidate, averaged 25.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals during victories over No. 4 UCLA and No. 25 USC. Brooks made 18 of 30 shots (60 percent) during the week. 

This is Brooks' second weekly award. His first came on Feb. 1, 2016.

Brooks' biggest moment last week came Wednesday against UCLA when he had 23 points, including the game-winning three-point basket with 0.8 seconds to give the Ducks an 89-87 victory over the previously undefeated Bruins.

On Friday against USC, Brooks scored 28 points on 9-of-10 shooting (4-of-4 from three) during an 84-61 Oregon victory.

Oregon, which moved up from No. 21 to No. 15 in this week's rankings, next plays Wednesday at Washington. 

Brooks too much as No. 21 Oregon cruises past No. 22 USC 84-61

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Brooks too much as No. 21 Oregon cruises past No. 22 USC 84-61

How Oregon won: Dillon Brooks. Dillon Brooks. Dillon Brooks. Oh my goodness. Coming off his game-winning three over UCLA on Wednesday, the junior forward picked up right where he left off hitting just about any shot from anywhere on the court. Brooks finished with 28 points, three rebounds, and three assists. He was just too much for the Trojans. No. 21 Oregon defeated No. 22 USC 84-61.

After the game, Oregon coach Dana Altman said on Brooks' performance, "Dillon Brooks was unbelievable offensively again tonight just making plays and moving the ball. No turnovers, three assists, missed one shot, so he was really good offensively."

Oh yeah, Brooks also missed just one shot tonight. 

What it means: Oregon opened up conference play at home vs. two undefeated teams this week in No. 2 UCLA and No. 22 USC. Although still early in conference play, Oregon got these necessary home wins before eventually facing both these teams on the road. With Oregon at full strength, are we finally seeing the "deep tourney run" Ducks team that fans hoped for?

Key sequence: With just under three minutes left in the first half, Oregon had a 29-27 lead over USC. Then, Dillon Brooks happened. Brooks hit one of his four three's, followed by a Chris Boucher block, and then Brooks took care of the rest with a massive dunk as the crowd absolutely errupted. But Brooks was not done yet. He hit one last shot with 1:22 left in the first half, paired with a jump shot from sophomore guard Tyler Dorsey, that helped extend Oregon's lead 38-29 at halftime. Oregon rode this energy and never looked back.

High flying Ducks: Besides another Brooks dominant performance, the other Dylan, Dylan Ennis, had himself a game as well adding 20 points, six rebounds, and three assists. Ennis finished the first half with just four points, but came out aggressive right away. Ennis contributed on 14 of the Ducks first 22 points out of halftime from both behind the arc and drives to the hoop. Ennis's counterpart, freshman guard Payton Pritchard, is settling in nicely as the starting guard creating plays for his teammates and controlling the tempo which led to several fast break opportunities for Oregon. Pritchard finished with 5 rebounds and 7 assists. 

Fowl play: Just how good can this Ducks team be? "You know, it's not a negative, but just how much room we have to grow into" said Altman. "I mean our block outs can get so much better, our transition defense can get so much better, so it's kind of the exciting thing is you know I think that if our guys will focus and really trust each other, we can get so much better in so many areas."

Up next: Oregon hits the road for their first conference play game away against the Washington Huskies (7-5) at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, January 4th.

Dillon Brooks and No. 21 Oregon hit on a winner against No. 2 UCLA

Dillon Brooks and No. 21 Oregon hit on a winner against No. 2 UCLA

EUGENE - The scene Wednesday night at Matthew Knight Arena would have been much different than the pandemonium that took place had Oregon forward Dillon Brooks' three-point shot with 0.8 seconds remaining not been true rather than swished to give the No. 21 Ducks an 89-87 win over No. 2 UCLA.

Faces would have been long. Hearts would have been broken. Yet, what would have still been as real in defeat as it was in victory is that the Ducks played arguably their best basketball of the season against the best competition they have faced to date, raising the belief that this team could certainly be championship-caliber after all. 

That, in the end, was more important than the win that could have easily been a loss with an inch or two to the left or right on Brooks' shot. 

These were the Ducks we've been waiting to see. A versatile and exciting group that has Final Four potential. Not the floundering team that got blown out at No. 4 Baylor and looked lethargic during many of its wins against lesser competition. 

"We're still a work in progress," UO coach Dana Altman said. "We needed something to happen. This was a good win."

The team's play, and the victory that extended the Ducks' home winning streak to 34 games, should pay dividends on many fronts, starting, but not ending with the play of Brooks, the team's heart and soul who must be that dude on a nightly basis for this team to excel. 

But let's start with the Ducks looking like an elite level team capable of contending for a Final Four berth, an expectation that had Oregon ranked in the top five to start the season. 

Altman all season had been calling for his team to improve its ball movement and play with greater efficiency. The Ducks (12-2, 1-0 Pac-12) did that with 19 assists on 30 field goals. Oregon certainly didn't always shoot well (the Ducks made 7 of 14 three-point attempts in the first half and just 4 of 16 in the second half) but the team rarely took poor shots while committing just nine turnovers compared to the team's average of 13.6 per contest.

Always the coach, Altman still found the negatives, but did admit that the team certainly looked stronger. 

"Offensively we're still way behind those guys," he said of UCLA, which leads the Pac-12 in scoring, shooting and assists. "We have a tremendous amount of work to do with our execution on the offensive end."

The other byproduct of this game is how the team didn't fold when everything went south in the second half. Oregon played lights out in the first half but led just 52-47. UCLA (13-1, 0-1) somewhat played possum waiting for the moment to strike. They did just that going on a big run in the second half to take an 80-72 lead with 3:53 remaining.

Altman said the way his team fought back from that moment on made him the most proud. 

"It would have been really easy for us to give in to it," Altman said of UCLA's momentum at that point.

The Ducks did not. Instead, they kept finding the resolve to claw back and eventually broke through. 

"We're going to fight from the first 20 minutes to the last 20 minutes," Brooks said. 

That brings us back to Brooks. Altman said he was happy for his entire team but mostly for Brooks, who he said has had a rough five months dating back to when he injured his foot during a team trip to play in Spain. He missed the team's first three games, returned for a loss at Georgetown, and had been on a minutes restriction all season, even when he made his first start against UNLV on Dec. 17.

Trainers, Altman said, recently gave Brooks the go ahead to come off his minutes restriction and tonight he delivered his best game of the season with 23 points and nine rebounds in 35 minutes.

Brooks attacked the basket without fear, converting on several plays inside. He crashed the boards. He launched eight threes... 

Well, that last part didn't turn out too well. He made just two.

"My team kept me positive, coaches kept me positive," Brooks said. 

That led to him making the three-point shot that mattered most.  

"For him to hit that shot after struggling here, it was good for him," Altman said. 

Brooks said he had no qualms about taking the three, which came after UCLAs Bryce Alford (20 points) missed a free throw. Brooks got the rebound, gave the ball to freshman point guard Payton Pritchard, and then got it back at the other end. Brooks ran straight to the three-point line and launched. 

"I was shooting it bad but I always say, 'shoot it like it's your last shot,'" Brooks said. 

Altman, ever the coach, joked that Brooks had time to take the ball to the basket, but added "who could argue" with his best player's decision in the end. 

"Nice to see him healthy and enjoying the game," Altman said. 

There's no rest for the elated. No. 22 USC comes to Matthew Knight Arena on Friday. No. 18 Arizona comes to town on Feb. 4. UCLA looms again on Feb. 9.

"They are the team to beat," Altman said of the Bruins. "We won a home game by two points. You're supposed to win at home. With their explosiveness, I still think they are the team to beat."

Wednesday night's game will be remembered for years as the one where Brooks hit that deep shot to win it. But maybe more importantly, for this team's goals this season, this night should be remembered as the night the Ducks finally started playing like a national title contender.

"We're feeling good," Brooks said. "Now we know we can do it. We can do it every time. Coach knows we can do it. Now we have to do it every single game."

Uptempo, upset! No. 21 Oregon defeats No. 2 UCLA 89-87

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Uptempo, upset! No. 21 Oregon defeats No. 2 UCLA 89-87

How Oregon won: What a way to open up conference play. This game was all Oregon junior forward Dillon Brooks from start to finish. The Ducks played their best game so far this season and rose to the occasion upsetting No. 2 UCLA 89-87. Brooks showed why he and No. 21 Oregon should be on top. He finished the game with 23 points, nine rebounds, four asssits, and one heck of a game-winning three heard around the country. But it was also his energy that lifted No. 21 Oregon over the Bruins and electrified the sold-out crowd at Matthew Knight Arena.

A tale of two teams has haunted Oregon so far this season. Oregon had a 52-47 lead at half, but could not build off their energy coming out of halftime. Bruins freshman guard Lonzo Ball and senior guard Bryce Alford got the hot hand in the second half. Ball finished with 14 points going 3-of-8 from three-point range while Alford finished with 20 points going 6-of-10 from three. However, this one came down to the wire and Oregon continued to fight and fight and fight. 

After the game, Oregon coach Dana Altman said on Brooks, "He had three great practices. I thought he might play good tonight because he really practiced well the last three nights. We came back Christmas, he had a great one there, yesterday his energy level was off the charts, and he's always got a lot of energy, sometimes it's negative, sometimes it's positive. But man he was positive and stayed with it tonight and hit a big shot."

Brooks was 1-of-7 from three-point range before hitting the game-winning three.

Following the game, Brooks said, "I always tell myself 'keep shooting like it's your first shot.'"

What it means: The entre game, Oregon showed why they should be considered a top five team. Their energy on both sides of the floor matched with all the Ducks fans in Matthew Knight tonight. With this win, the Ducks proved they can hang with the best, and beat the best. 

Key sequence: The last three minutes was nuts. Matthew Knight Arena was on its feet. 12,000 plus screaming Ducks fans felt more like 50,000. With just under a minute to go, on the floor for the Ducks was Brooks, freshman guard Payton Pritchard, senior guard Dylan Ennis, junior forward Jordan Bell, and senior forward Chris Boucher. Ennis closed the Bruins lead to two (85-83) with two clutch free throws. Bruins' Ball hit a quick layup on the other end only taking five seconds off the clock and putting the Bruins back up 87-83 with :24 seconds left. In untypical "freshman" fashion, Pritchard showed confidence and nailed a deep three to inch the Ducks closer, 87-86. Oregon's prayers were answered as Bruins' Alford missed a one-and-one free throw, giving the Ducks a glimpse of hope. And hope is exactly what Brooks thrived on and the junior hit a game-winner with :.08 seconds left. 

"We were going to try and go to him there," said Altman on Brooks' game-winner. "We try to go to the hot hand, but Dillon likes those big moments, hit or miss, he's willing to take the consequences for it. It's nice to see him healthy and enjoying the game again. It's been a long five months for him."

High flying Ducks: Payton Pritchard lead the Ducks with seven assists and only one turnover on the night. If the freshman can play that confident and that clutch against a very good UCLA Bruins team, that will definitely help down the road. Chris Boucher, whose status was questionable this evening, played 35 minutes, scored nine points, and pulled down seven rebounds. Not bad for recovering from a high ankle sprain. But tonight's MVP was Dillon Brooks who was the difference-maker from start to finish.

Fowl play: The Ducks struggled from the free throw line tonight. The team combinded for 18-of-25 and 72.0% from the line. Oregon will need to clean that up.

Up next: Oregon hosts No. 22 USC at 7 p.m. at Matthew Knight Arena.