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High-Flying Ducks Sink Pilots

Dec 15, 2021

EUGENE, Ore. — The Oregon men's basketball team built some momentum entering its showdown with the top team in the country, beating Portland in Matthew Knight Arena on Wednesday, 96-71.

The Ducks (6-5) enjoyed their best offensive performance of the season so far, with a season-high point total on 53.6 percent shooting. That was a welcome performance three days before hosting No.1-ranked Baylor at MKA on Saturday.

"We know they're really good defensively," senior Quincy Guerrier said of the Bears, who allow the third-fewest points in the country. "So we're going to have to really execute our offense and make sure everybody's on the same page."

Four Ducks scored in double figures Wednesday, including N'Faly Dante with a season-high 20 points and De'Vion Harmon with a season-high 19. Quincy Guerrier added 17 points and Will Richardson scored 16.

How It Happened: The Ducks (6-5) began to pull away from Portland early, scoring on five straight possessions to build an 18-8 lead. That run included three-pointers from Richardson and Guerrier and five points from Franck Kepnang, who along with Dante gave Oregon a decided edge in the post.

Dante finished an alley-oop from Richardson and Eric Williams Jr. followed with a three-pointer for a 27-11 lead, and Dante and Richardson scored on back-to-back trips to put Oregon up 31-13. Pretty passing from Harmon to Rivaldo Soares to Isaac Johnson helped the Ducks break Portland's press as Johnson finished the sequence with a dunk, and Guerrier scored in the post on the next possession to make it 35-18. Oregon led 46-30 at halftime.

Portland hit three-pointers on four of its first six possessions after halftime, but Oregon started the half 6-of-6 shooting to lead 61-43 on a Harmon three-pointer. A miss broke the hot shooting streak, but the Ducks ended up scoring on their first 11 trips down the court after halftime to go ahead 70-48.

That was Oregon's biggest lead until Johnson hit two free throws for an 86-63 advantage, and a three-point play by Dante with 3:33 left gave the Ducks their biggest lead of the night, 94-65.

Who Stood Out: Dante made 9-of-11 shots and also grabbed nine rebounds during his 20-point night, and Harmon was 3-of-4 from three-point range on his way to 19 points. Guerrier had five rebounds plus three assists along with his 17 points, and Richardson finished with 16 points, six rebounds and six assists.

Notable: Dante is now shooting 72.1 percent on the season. … James Coopers and Brady Parris made their UO debuts off the bench in the waning moments of the game. … Lök Wur missed his fourth straight game.

Up Next: The Ducks host Baylor on Saturday (7 p.m., ESPN2).