5866 people were in attendance at Matthew Knight Arena tonight to witness the Oregon Ducks 2nd victory over the Washington Huskies on the day. Earlier today, Oregon capped off yet another solid football recruiting class that should only help add on to the program's recent run at gridiron dominance . Despite their illustrious history (LOL), SEXAY city, and unmatched academics, The Huskies were once again out recruited by the Ducks. Tonight wasn't about all of that, however. Tonight belonged to Joe Young and the rest of the basketball team. Let's get to the action.
The 15-7 (5-4) Ducks managed to hold off the 14-7 (3-6) Huskies for a 78-74 win. The Ducks were coming off an overtime thriller in Tempe, which saw them emerge victorious over the Sun Devils, 68-67. The Huskies last outing ended in a heartbreaking 90-88 loss to the Cal Bears in Seattle.
The game was closely contested early on. An early foul on Jordan Bell forced him to leave the game to have Michael Chandler take his place. The two sides continued to exchanged baskets until midway through the first half, when UW took a 7-point lead. This led to an Oregon timeout to stop the surge. Oregon immediately responded with a 7-0 run to tie it at 19 apiece. Oregon would go on to regain the lead with just under 7 minutes to go in the half. During this run, we saw Oregon climb to it's biggest lead, 31-25. The Ducks ended the half with a 42-37 lead.
The same Oregon zone defense that flustered the Huskies in the first half, came apart to start the 2nd. Washington got off to an 8-0 run to start the 2nd half. They would regain the lead, 44-42. For the first 10 minutes, Washington held onto the lead, but failed to extend their lead. The Ducks always responded to keep the game at a reasonable deficit. How close was this game? We were tied 12 times, and had 11 lead changes.
With just 2:56 to go in the game, we were even at 70, and we were deadlocked once again at 74 with a minute to go. With Oregon milking the clock for a good possession Joe Young came off a Elgin Cook screen to hit a floater down the lane to give the Ducks a 2-point lead with 17 seconds to go. After a Husky timeout, Oregon forced a turnover, which saw Jordan Bell quickly call timeout. Oregon would go on to hold on to win by four thanks to a pair of Abdul-Bassett free throws.
Joe Young once again led the way for the Ducks. Fittingly, his clutch baskets down the stretch put him above 2000 career points, an EXTREMELY difficult feat. He had an OK night. 32 points on 12-21 shooting, and 4-9 from beyond the arc. Elgin Cook continued his streak of impressive play by adding 16 points. Jordan Bell led the team in rebounds with 8, but the game marked his first of the year where he went without a single blocked shot. Dillon Brooks was solid once again, and chipped in 8 points to go with 8 rebounds. Jalil Abdul-Bassett added 9 points of his own, including the game clinching free-throws.
For the Huskies, Nigel-Williams-Goss led the way with 19 points on 9-13 shooting, with 6 assists. Andrew Andrews what 14 points on 6-8 shooting, Shawn Kemp Jr. chipped in 12 points and 4 rebounds.
Team wise, first half shooting percentages for both teams were almost identical, at 57%. The big difference game in three-point shooting. Washington struggled, going 1-9, whereas the Ducks hit 5 of 10. Surprisingly, the Huskies shot better than the Ducks in the 2nd half, at 57%. The Ducks managed only 50%. The Huskies also were more efficient at getting to the line in the 2nd half. They went 9-12 from the line, whereas the Ducks only had five trips to the charity stripe. Oregon made the most of their foul shots however, and shot 100% (10-10) on the game. Despite the vast majority of points allowed coming in the paint, Oregon still out rebounded Washington.
Post game interviews: When asked about Oregon's last possession, which ended up giving them the lead that they would eventually hold on to, Joe Young was quick to credit Elgin Cook's screen that got him open. "I was just focused on getting Joe open," Cook said. "I knew Joe was going to knock it down." The hero of the night, replied, "I didn't know, I wasn't worrying about it. The main focus was the win", when asked if he was thinking about the milestone towards the end of the game. "It's not about me. It's about the team. We fought at the end on defense," he said. Head coach Dana Altman was pleased with his teams ability to find another way to win, but eagerly expressed his ongoing frustration with his teams defense, particularly their inability to stop dribble penetration and protect the paint. "If you look at our seven losses, they've all been defense related," Altman said. But he once again credited his team. They got a big stop when they needed it. They did it when we had to have it." He also was proud of Joe's accomplishment. "It's a big achievement. There's not a lot of guys that score 2000 points." The defense certainly isn't up to par with Altman's standards, but he remains optimistic. Other than the stops, I think we're in a good place," he said.
the win marks Oregon's 4th in 5 games. It moves them to 16-7 overall, and 6-4 in conference play. They take on Washington State next, this Sunday at 4:00 at Matthew Knight.