No. 11 Ducks Overpower Highlanders

Dec 28, 2002

AP Sports Writer

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - With a thrashing of UC Riverside, Oregon's Luke Ridnour proclaimed the Ducks recovered from the holiday break and ready for Pacific-10 play.

Ridnour had 24 points and Luke Jackson added 20 as No. 11 Oregon beat the overmatched Highlanders 108-67 Saturday for its school record-tying 23rd straight home victory.

Robert Johnson added 12 points and 12 rebounds for Oregon (9-1), which opens its Pac-10 schedule Thursday night against No. 4 Arizona.

'That game right there was to get us back in rhythm,' Ridnour said. 'It was a good chance to run and get ready for the Pac-10 season.

'It's easy to get caught up in the Luke-to-Luke show, but we have some really good players and a really good bench.'
--Head coach Ernie Kent

'Once the Pac-10 starts, it's a whole new season.'

Oregon's lone loss this season came against Cincinnati Dec. 17 in the Jimmy V Classic. The Ducks had been ranked as high as No. 5 after a victory over then No. 14 Kansas on Dec. 7.

'We got done what we needed to accomplish in the nonconference season,' Oregon coach Ernie Kent said. 'We have been thoroughly tested.'

Nate Carter and Kevin Butler each had 14 points for UC Riverside (1-5), which dropped its third straight. Coach John Masi kept his players in the locker room long after the game with a loud lecture.

With 23 straight wins at historic McArthur Court, Oregon matched the school record set from Feb. 13, 1937, to Jan. 6, 1939. That team, dubbed the Tall Firs, won the 1939 national title.

Luke Ridnour scored 24 points to help Oregon post its school record-tying 23rd straight home victory.

The Ducks' last loss at home was on Feb. 24, 2001, when they fell to Southern California.

Oregon, simply too fast and too physical for the Highlanders, led by as many as 43 points in the second half, and finished with five players in double figures.

Ridnour, who has reached double figures in all 10 games this season, scored 12 straight points for the Ducks early in the second half. He finished with eight assists.

When Jackson and Ridnour both score in double figures, the Ducks are 23-0.

The blowout also gave the Ducks a chance to see some of their younger players, including freshman guard Tyler York, who scored his first two points - on free throws - in two minutes of play.

Freshman Brandon Lincoln had 12 points in just 15 minutes, and was 3-for-3 from 3-point range.

'It's easy to get caught up in the Luke-to-Luke show, but we have some really good players and a really good bench,' Kent said.

Oregon got off to a slow start, but it was just a matter of time.

Jake Wessel tied it at 11 for the Highlanders with 15:39 in the first half before Oregon started to pull away.

Jackson punctuated a 16-6 run with a driving layup that put Oregon ahead 27-17 midway through the half, and the Ducks cruised to a 48-27 lead at the half.

Ridnour had just seven points in the first half before scoring 17 in the second.

'I quit worrying about it,' he explained. 'I was forcing my shot in the first half instead of letting the game come to me.'

UC Riverside opens Big West play on Thursday against UC Santa Barbara.

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