The Oregon Ducks were looking to regroup after last weekend’s tepid play against Arizona, and did so without starter Nate Bittle in the lineup, who was out with an undisclosed illness.
Jackson Shelstad started the game on a tear, and scored 15 points on 6-6 shooting in nearly the first eight minutes of the game. That, drawing fouls, and winning the battle of the boards on both ends allowed Oregon to go into halftime with a 46-39 lead, as the Trojans were otherwise shooting well - 50% at the half.
In the second half, Oregon buckled down and played better defense, limiting USC to only 37.5% shooting. The Ducks solidified a double digit lead for much of the second half, and were up by 18 with 4:30 left in the game.
Jadrian Tracey’s 3-point shot that put the Ducks ahead by 18 would be Oregon’s last FG of the game. After that, the Ducks fell off on defense and poor shooting allowed USC to go on an 11-0 run; but with less than a minute in the game, the Trojans were not able to get shots and Oregon closed to the 78-69 final.
USC ended up shooting 27-62 for 43.5% (34.6% from distance), and were perfect at the free throw line but only made it to the charity stripe six times. Boogie Ellis was the scoring leader with 17 points.
Oregon shot 24-65 for 36.9% (37.5% from beyond the arc) and went to the line a hefty 21 times, making 18 of those shots for a very respectable 87.5%.
All of the Oregon starter ended with double-digit shooting; Jackson Shelstad with 20 points, Kario Oquendo with 12 points, and N’Faly Dante, Jermaine Couisnard, and Jadrian Tracey each scored 11.
At game’s end, the sides were even with 35 boards each and were relatively even in other categories, although USC had 14 blocks to 9 for the Ducks.
Oregon maintains their first-place tie with Arizona in the Pac-12 standings, and next travel to Pauley Pavilion to try and maintain that momentum. UCLA stuck it to the Beavers last night, 71-63, and are in a 3-way tie for sixth place in the Pac-12. The Bruins are always tough at home, and the Ducks have their work cut out for them.
UCLA hosts Oregon on Saturday, 2/3, at 7:00 pm PT. The game can be seen on ESPN2.