This was the game. The one for all the marbles. After a thrilling comeback win over UCLA, Oregon faced off with their rivals the Beavers of Oregon State seeking both revenge as well as the Pac-12 regular season title. The Ducks have won nine of their last ten, while the Beavers have won their previous three contests. The Ducks looked to perform better than their last matchup, a 75-64 loss in Eugene in which Oregon was very short-handed. Ethan Thompson led the Beavers with 19 points, doing most of his damage from the free throw line.
The Ducks came out swinging as they scored a couple early buckets and quickly asserted their defensive pressure to force an early turnover from the Beavers, keeping OSU from settling into their offense would be a key to winning the rematch. Unfortunately for the Ducks, Eugene Omoruyi got stuck with two early fouls and got called out of the game. Oregon took an 11-3 lead after Duarte picked off a high pass and dished to LJ Figueroa who threw down a monstrous dunk.
Duarte was out there throwing down dunks of his own, as his put-back off a miss gave the Ducks a 16-8 lead. One of the best parts about the first half was the energy that Oregon was playing with. Their bench was cheering them on constantly and you could tell the players on the court were feeding off that. One thing that the Ducks were doing well in the first half was their passing. Lots of good looks finding the open guy, not just swinging the ball around the court. The Ducks took a 24-10 lead and clearly had all the momentum over the Beavers. OSU’s Ethan Thompson, who gave the Ducks fits in their first meeting, was trying his hardest to get them back in the game, but was struggling from the floor.
While Thompson was struggling, Jarod Lucas was more than making up for it, scoring 10 of his own as the Beavers pulled the Ducks lead down to 5, 27-22. Luckily, a barrage of threes by Richardson and Eric Williams gave them a double digit lead again, 39-24. The Ducks were heating up after getting outscored 12-1 in OSU’s run, and the wave of momentum favored Oregon once again. Will Richardson scored 17 first half points, including hitting all 5 of his three point attempts, as the Ducks led 44-31 going into the half. They shot a blistering 62% in the first half, including hitting 8 of 12 threes. In the Duck’s first matchup with OSU, they were missing Richardson, Duarte and Figueroa. Those three combined for 34 of Oregon’s 44 first half points. It doesn’t seem a stretch to say that if they played back in that January matchup, it likely would have gone Oregon’s way.
Omoruyi kicked things off for Oregon in the second half, he scored his first few buckets of the game after sitting most of the first half with foul trouble. Unfortunately, he picked up his third foul just moments later, and he just couldn’t catch a break. Roman Silva was making life tough for the Ducks in the paint, he had ten points and was taking advantage of Omoruyi trying to avoid picking up another foul. Richardson’s hot hand continued as he was up to a career high six three pointers and he was feeling it. Oregon had a 54-41 lead with 14 minutes left. Ethan Thompson broke his cold streak with his first basket, but the Beavers star was still shooting a dismal 1 for 8.
Omoruyi knocked down a three and he’s had the hot hand in the second half, were he’s scored all 10 of his points, not to mention still being able to draw charges while he’s playing with three fouls. This game just means more to the Ducks and they were playing like it. Every time Oregon State has gotten close, the Ducks have pulled away and they’ve pulled away by raining fire from the three point line.
Jarod Lucas was carrying the Beavers in the first half, but he’s struggled in the second, only scoring once, although the rest of OSU has struggled just as much. Oregon’s defensive press has kept the Beavs on their toes and has largely prevented them from implementing much of any offensive continuity.
Try as they might, the Beavers just couldn’t keep up with Oregon’s hot shooting, the lead didn’t fall below double digits. Eric Williams Jr. threw down a big dunk for a cherry on top, and the Ducks won 80-67.
YOUR OREGON DUCKS ARE PAC-12 CHAMPIONS!!!! Despite what that tough loss to USC, the Ducks are your back-to-back champs. They won the games they had to, got a few good breaks from the other contending teams, and it culminated with an offensive clinic against their bitter rivals to avenge a tough loss earlier in the year. All the Ducks starters traded off having the hot hand, whether it was Will Richardson in the first half, Omoruyi in the second, and some Duarte, Figueroa and Williams sprinkled in for good measure. This Ducks team is red-hot, and have the chance to win the Pac-12 Tournament, as well as make a lot of noise in the NCAA Tourney as well.