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MBB: Dante returns, Ducks rally past Cal

Oregon trails by as much as 18 but battles its way past the Bears.

Syndication: The Register Guard Ben Lonergan/The Register-Guard / USA TODAY NETWORK

5-0 in conference? Unbeaten at home?

Just a couple things to check off the list as Oregon hits roughly the midseason point in basketball as men’s hoops downed Cal 80-73 at Matthew Knight Arena.

The big man was officially back on the floor as Oregon’s All-Conference center N’Faly Dante took the floor again for the first time since the season opener against Georgia, tallying eight points, two rebounds, and a block in limited minutes as he gets his feet back underneath him.

Early on, however, even his renewed presence on the floor wasn’t enough to quell Cal’s flame as the Golden Bears shot the ball exceptionally and scored at will, building a lead as high as 18 points.

But the Ducks refused to let down the crowd that had braved the winter storm to watch them, and they embarked on a furious rally that closed the gap to four at halftime.

In the second half, a Jackson Shelstad 3 gave the Ducks the lead back, but it continued to seesaw until the final minutes, when timely scoring and fierce defense wrapped things up for the Ducks.

After a cold start, Oregon finished shooting 46% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc. Jermaine Couisnard led the Ducks with 18, Jadrian Tracey had 14, and Shelstad and Keeshawn Barthelemy had 12 each.

Interestingly enough, 5-star Freshmen Mookie Cook and Kwame Evans barely saw the floor on Saturday with just 9 minutes apiece. Make of that what you will.

Oregon next heads to dreaded Boulder to face Colorado, where Altman has secured only one victory in his entire tenure with Oregon. Thankfully, Colorado is off to the Big 12 next season and Oregon the Big 10, meaning they will cease their annual visit to the high-altitude house of horrors.