The Oregon Ducks (16-5, 11-4) handled the California Golden Bears (8-19, 3-17) and earned a first round bye for the PAC-12 Tournament with a 74-63 victory on the road in Berkeley.
BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA - In their final game of the regular season the California Golden Bears challenged Dana’s Ducks for most of the game, but Oregon was able to pull away thanks to strong play from three of its senior starters.
Midway through the opening half, the Ducks led by just one point, 11-10, but used a series of offensive surges to create some breathing room against Cal. Eugene Omoruyi helped the Ducks take control early by scoring 11 of his game-high 21 points in the first half.
Oregon was able to build a 34-27 lead at the end of the first half thanks to a 10-0 Duck run and 11 first-half rebounds from LJ Figueroa. Figueroa had his best game in an Oregon uniform by recording his fourth double-double of the season with a career-high 14 rebounds and a season-high 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting. The senior also helped sink the Golden Bears by turning three Cal turnovers into seven points to cap off an 11-0 Oregon run that gave the Ducks a 63-45 lead with 7:34 remaining in the game.
Omoruyi did much of his second-half damage from the free throw line (4-of-4) and finished 8-of-18 from the floor and 0-of-2 from three-point land. The Golden Bears had a tough time containing the athletic redshirt senior, which opened up room for other Duck scorers.
Chris Duarte scored the game’s opening bucket but once again took a little while to find his shot, however, just like he did against Stanford he had a huge second-half performance that lifted the Ducks to victory. The candidate for PAC-12 Men’s Basketball player of the year finished the contest with 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the floor despite entering halftime with just four points on 1-of-5 shooting.
A series early in the second in which Duarte drained a triple and then stole the ball to hit another triple on the fastbreak sparked another 10-0 run from Oregon and felt like the turning point for the Ducks.
Cal finished shooting 45.3 percent from the floor and 7-of-19 from three. Oregon, on the other hand, hit 52.7 percent of their shots and connected on six of their 15 shots from three.
Oregon plays three games in the next week before the PAC-12 tournament begins: Arizona, UCLA and @ Oregon State are the final three contests that will decide where Oregon ends up in the final PAC-12 standings.
NEXT UP: Arizona
Monday, 6 PM, ESPN2 - Eugene, Oregon