Dillon Brooks' game-winner caps Oregon comeback in 68-65 win at Cal

Dillon Brooks' game-winner caps Oregon comeback in 68-65 win at Cal

No. 6 Oregon 68, California 65

How Oregon won: Oregon junior forward Dillon Brooks made a three-point basket from straight away with two tenths of a second remaining to give the Ducks a 68-65 win Wednesday night against California at Haas Pavillion in Berkeley, Calif.

The winning shot, which was very similar to the one Brooks made on Dec. 29 during an 89-87 win at home over UCLA, ended a furious late run by UO to steal a game the Ducks trailed most of the night. 

The Ducks (24-4, 13-2 Pac-12) trailed 20-7 with seven minutes remaining in the first half after making just 2 out of their first 15 shot attempts, including missing all seven three point attempts within the first 13 minutes.

Oregon trailed 30-16 at halftime after scoring a season-low for a half, and trailed 37-21 with 16:51 remaining in the game. 

The Ducks got to within 39-30 with 13:43 remaining but then fell behind 47-34 with 10:06 remaining in the game thanks to California continuing to apply defensive pressure and make timely shots to stem any UO attempts at making a run. 

Oregon finally began to truly chip away at its deficit minutes later before getting to within striking distance late as Cal (18-8, 9-5) began to crumble by committing critical late turnovers.  

What it means: The Ducks put pressure on Arizona (25-3, 14-1) to continue winning. The Wildcats host USC Thursday night. Arizona leads Oregon by one game in the Pac-12 standings, but the Ducks hold the head-to-head tie breaker. 

Key sequence: Oregon trailed 59-52 before senior guard Dylan Ennis and freshman guard Payton Pritchard hit back-to-back three-pointers to make the score 59-58 with 3:07 remaining.

A score inside by senior forward Chris Boucher off of an assist from Pritchard gave the Ducks a 62-61 lead with two minutes remaining.

Cal's Grant Mullins gave his team a brief one-point lead before Brooks hit a jumper to make it 64-63, UO with 58 seconds remaining.

UO guard Tyler Dorsey's two free throws gave the Ducks a 65-63 lead, but Cal answered with a jumper from Ivan Rabb that tied the game at 65 with seven seconds remaining.

That led to the Brooks' heroics. 

High flying Ducks: Brooks had a game-high 22 points and Boucher scored 18 to go along with six rebounds off the bench. 

Oregon shot 46.3 percent from the field and made seven of its final 14 three-point attempts to get back into the game and win it. 

The Ducks committed just seven turnovers. 

Fowl play: Dorsey made just one of 8 shot attempts to finish with five points. Other than Boucher, the UO bench contributed zero scoring. 

Up next: Oregon continues its road trip Saturday at Stanford (13-13, 5-9) with a 3 p.m. tipoff.  

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. 

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. 

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.

No. 5 Oregon survives the USC heat with 81-70 win

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No. 5 Oregon survives the USC heat with 81-70 win

How Oregon won: What a complete turn of events from their first meeting back in December. What was then a 84-61 Oregon blowout over USC, is now a different story. No. 5 Oregon, coming off its second conference loss at UCLA last Thursday, both teams had a different look and feel. This was a battle. But No. 5 Oregon (22-4, 11-2 Pac-12) survived the USC heat with a 81-70 win over the Trojans (21-5, 8-5 Pac-12).

Foul trouble haunted the Ducks all night. Junior forward Dillon Brooks fouled out with 3:28 left to go in the game, Ducks only up 68-63. Brooks, who lead all Ducks scores with 21 points going 8-of-14 from the field and 3-of-5 from three-point range. 

Oregon would finish the game behind sophomore guard Tyler Dorsey, freshman guard Payton Pritchard, senior guard Dylan Ennis, junior forward Jordan Bell, and senior forward Chris Boucher with under three minutes to go and a three point lead. Dorsey found his shot. Finally. The sophomore guard came alive in the final two minutes draining two three’s and helping extend Oregon’s lead to 76-68 with under two minutes to go. 

What it means: This was a huge win for the Ducks, especially coming off a loss last Thursday. However, Oregon still has a lot to work on and it starts with ball movement, a common trend this season. The team had a cumulative 13 assists, 13 turnovers, and 19 fouls tonight. The Ducks will have to clean this up for the rest of conference play because they have quite the target on their back from Utah, Colorado, and California all coming up this month. 

But having four starters score in double digits doesn't hurt either.

Following practice last week in Eugene, Boucher said that Oregon's offense starts with their defense. Tonight, the Ducks capitalized 23 points off 16 USC turnovers. USC only had 12. 

Key sequence: With under three minutes to go, Dorsey stepped into big shots with big confidence. As Oregon thrived in the spotlight, USC crumbled. Dorsey's first three-pointer came in with 2:59 left to go and a now 71-65 Oregon lead. USC came down with a three-pointer on their own from sophomore forward Bennie Boatwright, who finished with 15 points. On the Ducks next possession, Bell scored a layup and Boatwright looked to answer again. But Ennis pulled down a huge defensive rebound, pushed the ball up court, and found Dorsey at his spot where he nailed another three to put Oregon up 76-68. The Ducks rode this cushion all the way to the buzzer. 

High flying Ducks: Brooks lead all scores with 21 points. Dorsey had a complete 180 after halftime and found his stroke in the second half. He finished with 19 points, and four-of-eight from downtown. Bell finished with a double-double on 12 points and 14 rebounds. 

Fowl play: Brooks, Dorsey, Bell, and Boucher each had two fouls in the first half, which forced them to play conservatively. Oregon’s 11-point lead mid-way through the first half, slowly diminished away. But Altman had to keep them in game because they were the only ones producing on the offensive end. Brooks fouled out with 3:28 left to go in the game.

Up next: The Ducks head back home to host Utah (17-8, 8-5 Pac-12) at 6 p.m. this Thursday.

Round two goes to UCLA. No. 10 Bruins defeat No. 5 Oregon 82-79.

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Round two goes to UCLA. No. 10 Bruins defeat No. 5 Oregon 82-79.

How Oregon lost: The No. 10 Ducks brought their hot-shooing last Saturday vs. Arizona to Los Angeles Friday night at Pauley Pavilion. At least in the first half. Unfortunately for Oregon, college basketball is a 40-minute game.

Oregon (21-4, 10-2 Pac-12) fell short with a 82-79 loss at No. 10 UCLA (22-3, 9-3 Pac-12).

Early, it seemed as though Oregon had this one in the bag and would get two wins this season over conference rival UCLA. Then things changed quickly.

In the highly-anticipated rematch, the Ducks knew that this was going to be a revenge game for the Bruins. The last time these two schools met ended with a Dillon Brooks game-winning three with .08 left on the clock. This time, the fairytale ending went UCLA's way.

The Ducks jumped out to a 37-18 lead in the first half by controlling the tempo of the game. Freshman guard Payton Pritchard, sophomore guard Tyler Dorsey, junior guard Casey Benson and even junior forward Jordan Bell pushed the pace, trying to catch the Bruins on their heels. As soon as that 19-point lead got comfortable, so did the Ducks.

UCLA went on an 14-0 run during which the Ducks committed their first turnover of the game. Oregon's game is at its best when it controls the pace. But alas, UCLA continued to fight and limited the Ducks lead to just nine points, 48-39 at halftime. 

This lead was short-lived. The Bruins keep fighting and fighting and found the hot hands of their playmakers. UCLA turned up the pace behind freshman guard Lonzo Ball's double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds.

UCLA took its first lead of the game at 72-70 with 4:01 remaining off a three-pointer from sophomore guard Aaron Holiday. The Bruins crowd went wild. UCLA's defense repeatedly forced the Ducks into bad shots with the shot clock winding down, which opened the door for Ball to take over. Oregon had no match for Ball. 

But ultimately, it was missed free throws, a lack of energy in the second, and their inability to handle the Bruins strong defensive pressure that lead to this three point loss for the Ducks. 

What it means: Who knows how this loss will impact the rankings nationally or the race for the Pac-12 regular season championship. The Ducks, who have two conference defeats (Colorado and UCLA). Every game matters more than the last for Oregon. This may have been the toughest road game the Ducks will have this season, and Oregon did not pass the test tonight. Of the final six games for the Ducks, four will come on the road. The Ducks cannot afford to be a different team on the road than they are at home. Yes, home court advantage is huge, but the Ducks must bring the same energy on the road.

Key sequence: Oregon got everyone involved early on. All five starters for the Ducks, Pritchard, Dylan Ennis, Dorsey, Brooks, and Bell, scored within the first five minutes. It looked to be a long game for UCLA, but this was far from over and Oregon's 19-point lead slowly diminished. 

High flying Ducks: Brooks and Dorsey lead all scores with 19 points each. Brooks added three rebounds and two assists. Pritchard added 13 points, and Bell finished with nine points and 15 rebounds. 

Fowl play: Pritchard picked up four fouls, most of which were called on reaching. 

Up next: The Ducks stay in California to take on USC (20-4, 7-4 Pac-12) at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Galen Center.

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."

Dillon Brooks earns Pac-12 player of the week honors with electric performances against ASU, Arizona

Dillon Brooks earns Pac-12 player of the week honors with electric performances against ASU, Arizona

The Duck are receiving national and conference recognition for extending its nation-leading home win streak to 40 games with triumphs over Arizona State and then-No. 5 Arizona. 

Oregon jumped from No. 13 to No. 5 in the AP Poll and Oregon junior forward Dillon Brooks was named Pac-12 player of the week.

It is Brooks' second conference player of the week honor this season and third weekly honor during his career, the second-most ever by an Oregon player. Blair Rasmussen is the Ducks' all-time leader with four selections. 

In Brooks' electric performances over ASU and Arizona he averaged 22.5 points on 67 percent shooting (16-of-24), including 7 of 12 from three-point range. He also averaged 5.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals during the week. 

Brooks scored Oregon's final 12 points with 3:15 remaining to fuel the Ducks to a 71-70 victory over the Sun Devils on Thursday. 

Against the Wildcats, Brooks had 18 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. 

The Ducks head south this week to take on No. 10 UCLA (21-3, 8-3 Pac-12) at 7 p.m., Thursday and then play at USC (20-4, 7-4) at 7:30 on Saturday.

 

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....

It wasn't pretty, but No. 13 Oregon gets the job done with 71-70 win over Arizona State

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It wasn't pretty, but No. 13 Oregon gets the job done with 71-70 win over Arizona State

How Oregon won: It definitely wasn't pretty but a win is a win. It didn't take long for junior forward Jordan Bell to showcase another impressive dunk (assist from junior forward Dillon Brooks). Just one minute and thirty seconds into the game, the two connected on a powerful allety hoop. But that was really all the spark in the first half for the Ducks. Trailing by three at halftime, No. 13 Oregon (20-3, 9-1 Pac-12) finished with a decent second half and solid play from Brooks in the final minutes to extend its home-win streak to 39 with a 71-70 win over Arizona State (10-13, 3-7 Pac-12).

"We didn't have a good rhythm offensively in the first half," said Oregon coach Dana Altman following the game. "Took some bad three's...threw our rhythm off offensively. We were standing around, our ball movement wasn't real good, so disappointed in the way we played offensively the first half. Obviously the second half the ball movement was better and we had 10 assists on 15 baskets in the second half, and then we relied on Dillon [Brooks] to really make some big shots there late."

The Ducks knew coming in that the Sun Devils liked to shoot the three so they would have to pull either Bell senior forward Chris Boucher out to the perimeter to guard the three-point line or at least contest the shot with a hand in the shooter's face. It worked. Oregon held Arizona State to 9-for-27 (33 percent) as a team, under their season average.

Oregon went with Brooks, Pritchard, Ennis, Dorsey, and Bell to bring this one home. Brooks scored the Ducks' final 11 points. His efforts were just enough as this one came down to the wire. 

What it means: The Ducks cannot sleep on any team, ranked or unranked. Arizona State came to play. The Sun Devils' first step off the dribble was so quick that it exploited the Ducks' defense.  Drives to the hoop were there...temporarily. Both Boucher and Bell proved why the Ducks are leading the nation in blocks per game (7.4 per game). But only when the two were in at the same time, which was not frequent to match the Sun Devils smaller lineup. Oregon needs to bring a lot more energy on Saturday and cannot afford to be a "tale of two teams".

Key sequence: At halftime, the Ducks trailed 28-25. Then Dillon Brooks took over. Brooks was aggrressive, came out and hit back-to-back field goals (one from three-point range), and then on the next possession, Bell took it up the court himself and found a wide-open Boucher for the slam. Another good defensive possession led to a Bell offensive rebound and put-back jam that tied the game at 34, but more importantly sparked better offensive and defensive efforts in the second half.

Brooks finished with 27 points, four rebounds, and six assists. But it was his presence and confidence shooting the ball that ultimately won it for Oregon in final three minutes.

High flying Ducks: Bell recorded a double-double (11 points and 11 rebounds) and added three blocks. Although Boucher did not have a scoring presence on the floor tonight, he still made his presence known on the defensive side with four highlight blocks. 

Up next: In one of the more anticipated games of the season, Oregon hosts Pac-12 leader, No. 5 Arizona (21-2, 10-0 Pac-12) at 1 p.m. this Saturday at Matthew Knight Arena.