We're still all on a high from Thursday's Rose Bowl, but on Saturday night, the Oregon Ducks opened their Pac-12 basketball schedule with a Civil War matchup against the Oregon State Beavers. The Ducks were led by Joseph Young who scored 27 points (15 of those coming from beyond the arc) on 10-of-15 shooting.
Elgin Cook also had a strong showing for the Ducks with 18 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Jordan Bell continued to be a dominating presence on defense with five blocked shots, four of those coming during the first half.
The Beavers kept things close in the first half thanks to hitting 10-of-12 free throws, trailing by only two points at the break. But Oregon stepped on the gas pedal in the second half to pull away for the 11-point win over their in-state rivals.
The Ducks improved to 11-3 overall on the year while the Beavers fell to 9-4.
The Ducks got off to a good start defensively, holding Oregon State without a basket for the first five minutes, missing their first nine shots of the night. Oregon was able to use the Beavers’ poor shooting to jump out to a 10-0 lead before Oregon State scored, including a nice play from Joseph Young in which he was able to force a steal and come up with the left-handed dunk in one swift motion.
Jordan Bell got off to a good start with 6 points in the first 8 minutes, plus four blocks in the first 11 minutes. This season, Bell has been averaging 3.3 blocks per night (6th in the NCAA), providing a big presence on defense. Bell also provided an explosive play early on with this alley-oop.
Oregon State’s shooting struggles continued well into the first half. With just under seven minutes to go in the opening half, the Beavers were shooting 2-of-18 (11%) from the field.
Oregon’s 12-point lead was whittled down to five points as the Beavers got field goals on consecutive possessions for the first time. After a three-pointer by Langston Morris-Walker, Oregon’s lead had been cut down to 23-18 with just under four and a half minutes.
One area that kept the Beavers in the game was at the free throw line. Late in the first half, the Beavers were in the double bonus. All of a sudden, Oregon's lead had been cut down to just two points thanks to back-to-back baskets by Gary Payton II.
With just under a minute left in the half, Langston Morris-Walker used the bank shot from just inside the arc to tie the game at 27-27. Oregon State found themselves trailing by just two points going into the half after a late 9-2 run.
Ducks lead 29-27 at the half. Young with 13 points and 2 rebounds. Ducks shooting 45% from the field. #GoDucks— QuackCave (@QuackCave) January 4, 2015
While the Beavers struggled from the field in the opening 20 minutes, shooting 29.6% (8-of-27), their free throw shooting kept them in the game, shooting 83.3% (10-of-12) from the line during the first half. Langston Morris-Walker led the Beavers with 9 points in the first half, including this step-back jumper to tie the game.
Joseph Young picked up right where he left off with five quick points to start the second half, including a three-pointer off a turnover to put the Ducks up 34-29 less than two minutes into the half. It looked as if Young would once again be taking matters into his own hands to extend Oregon's lead.
Young hit two more three-pointers to put Oregon back up by nine points. The lead would go back to double figures as the Ducks found themselves on a 10-2 scoring run.
In another big swing of momentum for the Ducks, Gary Payton II found himself on a breakaway for a wide open dunk. Except he missed the dunk. Oregon capitalized off the mistake as Ahmaad Rorie hit a three-pointer, putting Oregon up 49-35 with 13:15 to play, their largest lead of the night to that point.
The Beavers struggled with turnovers during the night, and the Ducks were able to convert off them. Elgin Cook came up with a mid-court steal that led to a layup and a three-point play as Oregon continued to maintain their double digit lead as the game went on.
The play helped spark a 7-0 run for the Ducks to put them up by 17 points with just under 10 minutes to go.
Olaf Schaftenaar provided the Beavers with a much needed offensive spark, draining back-to-back three-pointers to cut Oregon's lead back down to single digits.
Joseph Young continued to find his stroke from beyond the arc as the night wore on. The Beavers switched to a 1-3-1 defense to put some pressure on the Ducks. With the shot clock winding down, Young hit his fifth three-pointer of the night to put the Ducks up 63-52 with just under seven minutes to play.
From there, all that was left was to milk the clock as the Ducks had taken control in a dominant second half. The Beavers ran out of gas, making just one field goal in the final six minutes of the game.
Oregon will remain at home to take on No. 8 Arizona on Thursday night, followed by a Sunday afternoon matchup against Arizona State. The atmosphere at Matthew Knight Arena should be electric on Thursday against the Wildcats with all the students back in town. Who's down for another court storming against Arizona? It's kind of becoming our thing.