2014 Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament first round: Oregon wins Civil War
LAS VEGAS – The Oregon Ducks' deep bench is a weapon on both ends of the court.
The Beavers were game, but Dana Altman's squad forced 15 turnovers and generally wore down their opponent en route to an 88-74 win in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament Wednesday at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.
Oregon, the higher seed in this third 'Civil War' of the season, will play tournament No. 2 seed UCLA at 6 p.m. PT on Thursday. The game will be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks.
Starting guard Joseph Young led the Ducks with 19 points, while Jason Calliste poured in an efficient 17 points on five shot attempts to lead the bench that outscored OSU reserves 46-6 on the night.
“I thought our depth was a big factor in our game,” Altman said. “I thought our group that came in … really turned up the defense. We get down 10 to start the ballgame. The press and the defense helped turn us around there. We were able to guard 94 feet a lot, which I thought helped wear down their offense.”
[Related video: Oregon's Joseph Young on winning Civil War]
Perhaps the best news for the Ducks was seeing a breakout performance from sophomore point guard Dominic Artis, who added 10 points and six assists for a Ducks' second unit that outscored the Beavs' bench. A key piece to last year's team, Artis has found it tough skating this season, but on Wednesday he forced Altman to hold starting point guard Johnathan Loyd to 15 minutes of playing time – it was nothing Loyd did wrong, either.
“(Artis) had six assists in the first half,” Altmand said. “He waited and waited until he had the shot he wanted. He waited for great opportunities himself and focused on his defense. I thought his defense was great.”
Loyd now finds himself rested for a big game against the Bruins, as does the rest of Oregon's roster.
But through the first 25 minutes, it was a battle between the intrastate rivals.
Craig Robinson's defense had been clicking in recent weeks, and that continued early against the Ducks. The nation's ninth-best scoring team that averages 82.3 per game found itself down 15-5 seven minutes into the game. But in the next seven minutes, Oregon went on a 24-5 run to take a nine-point lead. OSU closed to 41-40 at the half due to an odd set of circumstances.
Oregon State had as many made baskets as the Ducks through the first half but had attempted 13 fewer shots. The Beavers hit 73.7 percent from the field – they hit 14-of-19 attempts – but shot themselves in the foot by committing 10 turnovers. They also allowed eight UO offensive rebounds.
Once the offense got cranked up in the second half, the Ducks built a lead that would last.
[Related video: Dana Altman talks win over Oregon State]
In the second half, Oregon got what it wanted offensively. A 17-3 run over the course of seven minutes by the Ducks included six layups, a three and two foul shots that turned a three-point deficit into a 71-59 lead with seven minutes left in the game. Defensively, Altman's squad squared up Pac-12 leading scorer Roberto Nelson, who went 5-for-6 for 13 points in the first half but scored six points on 1-for-6 shooting in the second.
“I think they shot 80 percent in the second half,” said a spot-on Nelson. “I just think that we got to make it a little bit harder.”
Oregon State ended up losing despite shooting 61 percent from the floor, though Oregon wasn't far off by turning a 43.8 percent shooting percentage at halftime into a 58 percent clip by the end of the game.
“It was kind of an offensive game,” Altman said. “We got them to turn the ball over in the end. The difference in the game was our 21 points off their turnovers.”