Good Duck, bad Duck. It really has been the theme for Oregon men’s basketball this season.
Last week, the bad Ducks were dismantled by Colorado in Boulder. 48 hours later, the good Ducks handed Utah its first conference loss in a tough atmosphere in Salt Lake City.
On Thursday, the bad Ducks were humiliated on their home floor by Arizona State. Then on Saturday, the good Ducks ran the Top. 10 Arizona Wildcats off of it.
Oregon won 87-68 in front of a small but jovial crowd in Eugene to once again put themselves above .500 in conference and show that trying to figure out who this team really is so far is going to be an uphill battle.
Arizona was praised for having two of the most dominant bigs in the nation, and N’Faly Dante put them both to shame. Jermaine Cousinard definitely ate his Wheaties on Saturday morning, leading Oregon with 27 points while hitting 6 3-pointers.
He was one of four Ducks in double figures, accompanied by 22 from Dante, 14 from Will Richardson, and 10 from Nate Bittle.
A ferocious posterization slam by Dante over Arizona’s Kerr Kriisa to start the game brought the Ducks to life, and they quickly erased an early 16-9 deficit to take the lead heading into halftime 43-37.
The Wildcats hit back-to-back 3-pointers to open the second half and tie the game, but the Ducks responded with a 10-0 run that put them in front for good.
Yes, Oregon’s offense finally found ways to put the ball in the basket, but it was the defense that completely suffocated the Cats. Arizona seemed befuddled on offense as Oregon racked up steals, blocks, and forced misses. It was reminiscent of the 2017 matchup in Eugene, when Oregon’s Final Four team shot unconsciously from range while overwhelming Arizona defensively.
Certainly the Ducks earned a signature win, put themselves back in good standing in the conference, and showed urgency and determination. The question is, when will they show consistency?
While we can revel in this upset, the fear that another stinker of a performance may be just around the corner is prevalent.
Which Ducks are we going to get on a game-by-game basis, the good…or the bad?
Where Oregon goes from here is up to them.