Oregon may have very well punched their ticket to the Big Dance on Wednesday night. Entering a hostile environment in front of the biggest crowd of the year at Gill Coliseum, the Ducks defeated the Oregon State Beavers 65-62 for their ninth win in the last 10 games to end the regular season.
Elgin Cook led the way for Oregon (23-8, 13-5 Pac-12) with 17 points and five rebounds, while Joseph Young added 15 points along with six rebounds and three assists.
With the game tied at 52-52 late in the second half, a 3-pointer from Dwayne Benjamin paired with a Dillon Brooks layup off a turnover gave the Ducks a 57-52 lead with 3:25 to play. Benjamin came off the bench for 12 points and five rebounds, including one of the biggest shots of the season for the Ducks.
A steal by Gary Payton II and a layup at the other end by Malcom Duvivier brought the Beavers (17-13, 8-10 Pac-12) back to within one with 33 seconds left. Payton II had another big night for the Beavers with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Duvivier led all scorers with 18 points.
Cook, who had been making athletic plays all night for the Ducks, then hit both his free throws to put the Ducks up by three.
Leading 61-58, Jordan Bell knocked the ball away from Duvivier, giving the Ducks possession off a jump ball with 13.8 seconds left. Dillon Brooks, an 82 percent free throw shooter on the year, hit both free throws to make it a two possession game with 13 seconds left. Brooks finished the night with six points and six rebounds.
Olaf Schaftenaar hit a late 3-pointer, but Jalil Abdul-Bassit knocked down both his free throws to ice the game.
The momentum began to swing in Oregon's favor when Payton II was forced to the bench after drawing his fourth foul. Oregon took advantage, going on a 7-0 run to take a 48-44 lead. That problem for Oregon State stemmed back to when Payton II and Brooks got tangled up late in the first half. After the dust settled, it was Payton II who found himself with a technical foul. That allowed the Joseph Young and the Ducks to cut into Oregon State's lead as part of an 8-0 run after trailing by nine.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. Oregon will have a chance against anybody as long as they have Joe Young #GoDucks— Ryan Kostecka (@Ryan_Kostecka) March 5, 2015
Oregon State had the momentum early in the second half, jumping out to a 38-32 lead with back-to-back 3-pointers off two straight turnovers by the Ducks. But just like when they led by as much as nine in the first half, the Beavers couldn't hang onto their lead.
Oregon was able to erase that lead when, after the Beavers couldn't get the ball out of the backcourt in time, Jalil Abdul-Bassit was fouled beyond the arc while shooting, and hit two of the three free throws. On his last miss, Elgin Cook threw down a put-back slam as the Ducks reclaimed the lead thanks the four-point possession as part of a 9-0 run.
The Ducks got off to a hot start, jumping out to a quick 8-0 lead after a deep 3-pointer from Joseph Young. This came after Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle started five walk-ons, all who were from the state of Oregon. It was a nice gesture for some hard-working kids getting to play in a rivalry game they grew up around. The move was so unexpected, Dana Altman had to meet with his starters before tipoff to decide who was guarding who. As a result, the Beavers became the first team in 17 years to get no points from their starters.
You do you, Tinkle pic.twitter.com/sVv3dilZcw— Sean Larson (@seanlarsonATQ) March 5, 2015
The Beavers were able to wipe out Oregon's quick start when the Ducks missed eight of their next 10 shots. The Beavers capitalized off the poor shooting to reclaim the lead as part of a 16-5 run. A 3-pointer from Gary Payton II gave the Beavers a 21-17 lead just over midway through the first half.
Ducks are 3-15 from field since taking 8-0 lead and trail 21-17 with 7:15 to go in first half.— Steve Mims (@SteveMims_RG) March 5, 2015
The Ducks shot just 36.7 percent in the first half on 11-of-30 shooting, but the Beavers had trouble hanging onto the ball, turning it over seven times, allowing the Ducks to stay in it as the two sides went into the half tied 32-32.
The Ducks will now wait to see what seed they'll end up with in next week's Pac-12 tournament. Oregon currently sits at the No. 3 spot, but could move up to the No. 2 seed if Utah loses one of their final two games this week in Washington. Oregon's first game in the conference tournament will be on March 12. If the Ducks get the No. 3 seed, they'll play at 8:30 p.m. PT, facing the winner of the 6 vs 11 matchup. If they get the No. 3 seed, they'll play at 6:00 p.m. PT, playing the winner of the 7 vs 10 matchup.