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Ducks beat Stanford 73-70 to complete first Bay Area sweep since 1976

Oregon very well might have punched their ticket to the NCAA tournament on Sunday, grinding out a tough road win against the Cardinal.

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Ducks swept Cal and Stanford on the road, Jimmy Carter was Time Magazine's Man of the Year and Steve Jobs had just created Apple. On Sunday, Oregon finally completed the sweep as they defeated the Stanford Cardinal 73-70 in a nail-biter at Maples Pavilion.

The win ensured the Ducks would finish no lower than third in the conference, locking up a first-round bye in the Pac-12 tournament for Oregon.

With 17 seconds left and the game tied 70-70, Dwayne Benjamin jumped in to intercept a pass from Chasson Randle, and pushed the ball down the court with numbers. Benjamin drew the foul, and hit his second free throw to give Oregon a 71-70 lead with 14.1 seconds to play.

Benjamin finished the day with 15 points, 8 rebounds and perhaps the biggest steal of the season for the Ducks. Benjamin also helped spark a key sequence of events for the Ducks late in the second half.

With just over three minutes to play, Benjamin tied things up with a corner 3-pointer. Then, Jordan Bell blocked Stefan Nastic from behind before running down the court for a thunderous alley-oop, giving the Ducks a 68-66 lead with 2:55 to play.

After Benjamin's steal and free throw, Chasson Randle then drove to the rim to try and hit a game-winning layup or draw a foul for a chance to take the lead at the line, but Joseph Young came away with the rebound and hit both foul shots, putting Oregon up 73-70 with 2.9 seconds left.

Randle led the Cardinal with 17 points, including hitting all three of his shots from beyond the arc. Randle also had six rebounds and six assists, but his turnover in the game's final moments might have cost Stanford a spot in the NCAA tournament.

The Cardinal had one final chance at a game-tying 3-pointer, but the inbound pass was stolen by the Ducks, wrapping up one of their biggest wins of the year.

Elgin Cook and Joseph Young led the way for the Ducks with 21 points each.

When the rest of the team went cold in the second half, Cook stepped up for nine straight points to put Oregon back in front midway through the second half. Cook took a tumble with just over eight minutes to go and hobbled off to the bench to get taped up, but would return rather quickly.

Young's clutch defensive rebound after Randle's attempt at a potential game winning shot fell off the mark, along with his final two free throws, iced the game for Oregon.

The Ducks shot 11-of-16 from the free throw line while the Cardinal shot 22-of-31 as Oregon had trouble staying out of foul trouble.

In the first half alone, three of Oregon's starters (Cook, Bell, Brooks) all drew a pair of fouls. Casey Benson and Dwayne Benjamin also had two fouls each as Stanford shot 13-of-20 from the line during the first half. Oregon tightened up for the most part as only Dillon Brooks fouled out in the second half.

It was a rough day for Brooks, who finished the day missing all five of his shot attempts.

The Cardinal jumped out to an early 12-6 lead after going on a 10-2 scoring run that included a couple of nice plays from Michael Humphrey. After finishing an alley-oop at the offensive end of the court, Humphrey came up with a huge block against Elgin Cook.

The Ducks went on a 7-1 scoring run to take just their second lead of the day. A 3-pointer from Jalil Abdul-Bassit and a jumper from Joseph Young put Oregon up 26-25 with 5:34 remaining in the first half. Young scored 10 points in the first half.

Late in the first half, the Ducks started to build a lead thanks to an 8-0 scoring run. Oregon took a 36-30 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Cardinal used an early 10-2 scoring run to reclaim the lead early in the second half. With the Ducks in a zone defense, Stanford was able to move the ball around as Chasson Randle drained a corner 3-pointer to tie the game up. Stefan Nastic then converted a three-point play to put Stanford back ahead.

Oregon won the rebounding battle in the first half, but the Cardinal came out aggressive on the glass in the second half, helping them take back the lead. Despite being outplayed in the paint, a common theme surrounding the undersized Ducks, Oregon eventually managed to squeeze out the win.

The Ducks have one final regular season game against Oregon State on Wednesday night in Corvallis. Expect Oregon to play extra tough as they locked up a first-round bye in the Pac-12 tournament with their win over Stanford today.