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MBB Game 20 Recap: Oregon 71 – UCLA 66

I am so impressed with this team tonight, that I stole the recap from Dom. 

Early on in the game you could tell there was something different about Oregon's energy.  Loose balls were dove after, rebounds were hustled for, guys scrapped, and it just looked like they wanted to capitalize on every second of every play.  This was the type of energy you would have hoped had been there after the Washington weekend, and whatever Ernie and Dunlap did before this game they need to repeat before every game.

Oregon got off to a decent start going up 10-6 on a Dunigan layup assisted by Armstud (who ended the night with a stellar 12 dimes) four minutes into the game.  UCLA responded with an 18-3 run putting them up 24-13, and just when you thought this was going to be another typical Oregon night, and the symbolic Porter pull up desperation 30 foot 3 pointer, he luckily got bailed out on by a foul right before the TV timeout.

Out of the timeout Porter hit all 3 free throws and Oregon came out with more energy and effort, and was able to close the gap before half to 31-28.

The second half is when Oregon really turned up the intensity.  Dunigan got into foul trouble early, but was able to do some damage down low offensively and defensively.  Jacob, Singler, Wilson and Crittle picked up the slack inside early in the second half opening up spots for Porter and Humphrey to hit a couple of big three's as Oregon pulled to their largest lead of the game 47-40.  UCLA clawed back to get within 2 points at 54-52 when Jacob was fouled with :34 seconds left on the clock.  After Jacob made one of two, UCLA came down the floor, missed a three, got the rebound, kicked it to Roll for a desperation 3 that hit with Wilson right in his face to tie the game at 55.  Porter tried to do an Brooks drive the length of the court and hit a floater at the buzzer impression only to find out he's not Aaron Brooks, and he air balls floaters.

Overtime turned out to be the Matthew Humphrey and E.J. Singler show.  Singler had 8 points and 2 rebounds; one rebound where he came flying in from the weak side to tip it in off a three point miss.  Humphrey had 8 points including 2 three's; one of which looked like a panty raid on a UCLA defender with a sick crossover step back three.

Final Thoughts

Let's review the keys to the game to see how Oregon did:

New look same dead team.

The uniforms were different, but so was the game plan.  Besides the fact that Ernie made a concerted effort to play big using Dunigan and Crittle at the 5 and Jacob and Singler at the 4 (Longmire and Wiley saw no time tonight), Oregon played a 2-3 zone the entire game.  Also, Oregon hustled after every loose ball (hell, I even saw Dunigan dive on the floor once).  Oregon went after every rebound, flew around both offensively and defensively, and looked like they actually gave a damn for 40+ minutes.

For the love of juju GO INSIDE! 

Oregon played much more conservative on offense and moved the ball  consistently throughout the shot clock to try and find the guys inside.  My one critique would be that Oregon's guards have to get better at throwing the post pass.  Too many times Dunigan or Jacob had established position and were not given the ball.  As my college coach used to say, "you give them the ball when they're ready, not when you are."  All in all, a great game plan by Oregon to slow the game down, go inside, be deliberate on offense and get good looks.

Have a lead in the game that isn't 2-0.

Ok, so they got a 3-0 lead early on.  The most refreshing thing was when Porter jacked up that terrible 30 foot bomb in transition and got bailed out, 5 of the next 6 shots were dunks or layups.  Oregon got themselves back into the game right before half with not only taking the ball to the hole, but also playing scrappy hardnosed defense, causing turnovers, contesting jumpers and going after rebounds.  That energy carried over into the second half.  At a point in time in the game where it looked like Oregon was ready to pack it in for the night and watch Evil Mini Me jack up three's, Oregon turned the corner and went after the win.

I'm not saying Oregon is out of the woods and it's all rosy sunshine and cherry blossoms from here on out, but if Oregon plays with this kind of heart and intensity the rest of the season, we'll find some more wins.  Good game Ducks.  Proud of the effort tonight!

And now is the time on sprocket where we have stats: