While Oregon Duck fans are all aflutter with the news that Chip Kelly is staying at Oregon, the basketball squad made it a perfect night, opening conference play by dispatching Oregon State, 79-66, on Sunday night at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis. The Ducks overcame a six-point halftime deficit to outscore the Beavers by 19 in the second half.
Oregon State jumped out to the early lead thanks to very hot shooting combined with very poor shooting for the Ducks. Midway through the first half, Oregon was shooting 29% from the field, while the Beavers started out at nearly 60%, giving OSU the six point lead. The Ducks would come back to tie it as Oregon State went through an 0-8 stretch, but the Beavers closed on a run and took the six-point lead to the locker room. In the end, both teams shot 45% from the first half. Turnovers and rebounds were even for the two squads, but it was Oregon State's three-point shooting that gave them the first half advantage.
The second half would be a different matter entirely. Buoyed by a 15-2 run early in the half, the Ducks would take the lead at the 16:49 mark, and extend that to a seven-point lead two minutes later. Oregon State would have another run in them to take a one-point lead, but Oregon extinguished that spark with a quick 7-0 run, and cruised to the finish from there.
The star of the second half for Oregon was Damyean Dotson. He scored 21 total--15 in the second half, and was able to penetrate the Beaver defense at will. After he was able to break down the Oregon State defense, it opened the interior up for Tony Woods and Arsalan Kazemi, who finally broke through after a tough first half. Besides Dotson's play, rebounding was the other major factor, as the Ducks outrebounded the Beavers by 11 in the second half. E.J. Singler led the team with nine boards, while Kazemi had eight despite being well less than 100%. The other major positive was the lack of turnovers--the Ducks only had 12 of them, a season low.
It equals a 1-0 conference start for the Ducks, who now turn their sights to Arizona, who comes to town on Thursday.