Ducks Flush OSU In Opener
LAS VEGAS — The Oregon men's basketball team never trailed in an 86-72 victory Wednesday over Oregon State to open the Pac-12 Tournament at T-Mobile Arena.
The fifth-seeded Ducks put a three-game losing streak to an end by leading for all but 55 seconds against the 12th-seeded Beavers. Oregon advanced to face No. 4 seed Colorado in a quarterfinal game Thursday (2:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network).
Playing without leading scorer Will Richardson, who did not travel to the tournament due to a non-COVID illness, the Ducks enjoyed a command performance leading the offense from Jacob Young, who had 23 points and 11 assists to lead four players who scored in double figures Wednesday.
"I think as a team we weathered the storm today," said Eric Williams Jr., who had 14 points and a team-high eight rebounds. "We don't have Will, so we have to go out and do our best, and I think the guys came together."
How It Happened: Oregon raced out to a 12-0 lead, a run that included two buckets in transition from Young, a third from N'Faly Dante and a three-pointer by Williams. OSU post Roman Silva picked up two fouls during that run, allowing the Ducks to not only push the ball when possible but also get production in the halfcourt from big men Dante and Quincy Guerrier.
The Beavers hit three three-pointers to close within 15-14, before the Ducks scored on five straight possessions to go up 26-18. That spurt included an alley-oop from Young that Dante finished, and another bucket in transition by Young.
"Will has really good instincts in the halfcourt, so we didn't want to make it a halfcourt game; we wanted to try to push it," UO coach Dana Altman said. "We're gonna try to push against Colorado tomorrow, even though we had to play today."
With the score 30-22, the Ducks had another spurt of buckets on four straight possessions, including a thunderous dunk by Guerrier and two consecutive field goals from Young. A three-pointer by De'Vion Harmon gave Oregon a 43-34 lead late in the first half, before OSU closed within 43-36 at halftime.
After the Beavers got within 45-42 early in the second, the Ducks again scored on four straight trips down the court to lead 53-45. Young scored the last of those four baskets, and he followed a Guerrier three-pointer with a layup for a 58-47 lead, Oregon's largest of the game to that point.
OSU's Jarod Lucas made a couple of three-pointers as the Beavers fought back to make it a one-possession game, before two Dante second-chance points and another Guerrier three-pointer gave Oregon some cushion again.
Next stop: quarterfinals. ??@OregonMBB fends off defending Pac-12 champion Oregon State 86-72 to set up a meeting with Colorado on Thursday.#GoDucks | #Pac12MBB | @MGMResortsIntl pic.twitter.com/Irctid9Fog
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) March 10, 2022
Guerrier's three-pointer made it 68-60, but as Dante turned to head back on defense teammate Rivaldo Soares slid into the inside of his lower leg, tweaking Dante's ankle. Guerrier also was limping moments later, but each ended up returning to the game as the Ducks held off the Beavers to win their Pac-12 Tournament opener for the ninth time in a row, and earn a spot in the quarterfinals for the 13th year in a row.
"My ankle is kind of sore, but it's fine," Dante said. "Obviously it's sore; I get that a lot. So, fine. Everything feels good."
Who Stood Out: Young scored his 23 points on 10-of-19 shooting and added a career-high 11 assists with six rebounds and three steals. Guerrier added 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting, and Dante had 15 points with seven rebounds and a career-high five blocked shots. Williams also scored in double figures with 14 points.
What It Means: The Ducks faced a quick turnaround before facing the Buffaloes in the quarterfinals on Thursday afternoon.
"We gotta play one game at a time," Altman said. "All we talked about was making it to Thursday. And tonight all we'll talk about is trying to get a plan put together for Colorado, who's playing really well.
"We know we got our work cut out for us. We expended a lot of energy. Oregon State gave us a great game. And we knew they would."
Up Next: The Ducks face Colorado in the quarterfinals Thursday (2:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network).