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Will Richardson leads hot-shooting Oregon to 80-67 Sunday win to clinch conference regular-season championship

COURTESY PHOTO: KARL MAASDAM/OSU ATHLETICS - Oregon's Will Richardson dribbles up the floor in the Ducks' Sunday win at Gill Coliseum. The junior guard scored 22 points and led the Ducks to another Pac-12 regular-season title.The Oregon Ducks are the Pac-12 Conference regular-season men's basketball champions — again.

All five starters scored in double figures, and Oregon answered each Oregon State push in a 80-67 win at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis.

The victory, fueled with 65.2% 3-point shooting, clinches a second consecutive regular-season conference title — and fourth in six seasons — for Oregon.

"The guys have been through a lot, but they really came together," Oregon coach Dana Altman said. "I really thought that our energy level was good. Our ball movement was good. We finished it off with some good 3s. Really good effort."

The Ducks (19-5, 14-4 Pac-12) are the No. 1 seed for the Pac-12 conference tournament, scheduled to start Wednesday in Las Vegas. Oregon will play the winner between Washington State and Arizona State in Thursday's quarterfinals.

The Beavers (14-12, 10-10) also get a bye into the tournament quarterfinals and will face UCLA at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

Sunday's win was Oregon's fifth in a row and 10th in its last 11 games.

Oregon got 42 points from Will Richardson (22), Chris Duarte (10) and LJ Figueroa (10), three starters who did not play for the Ducks when the Beavers won 75-64 on Jan. 24 at Eugene.

The difference Sunday was the 3-point line. The Ducks finished 15 of 23 for 45 of their 80 points. The Beavers, who shot 51.9% overall, were 4 of 17 for 12 points.

"They're a really good team," OSU coach Wayne Tinkle said. "And we didn't do the (defensive) job we were supposed to do to push them off the 3-point line, no matter what defense we were in."

Oregon — particularly Richardson, who finished 6 of 7 from 3-point range — started fast.

An 8-0 run midway through the first half put the Ducks up 26-10. The Beavers pulled within five, briefly, but the Ducks spurted to another 16-point lead.

Oregon's lead was double-digits for most of the second half, when the Beavers were never closer than eight points back.

All five Ducks' starters scored in double figures. Eugene Omoruyi scored all 18 of his points in the second half after sitting most of the first half with two fouls in the first two minutes. Eric Williams Jr. scored 14 points, hitting 4 of 6 3s.

Ethan Thompson scored 16 points to top four Beavers in double figures. Warith Alatishe had 14 points and 10 rebounds, Jarod Lucas 12 points, and Roman Silva 10 points and six boards.

Richardson, who had struggled with his shot after missing the first 12 games of the season with a thumb injury, made all five of his 3-point shots in the first half. The fifth of those was a bank shot in a 17-point first half that helped the Ducks to a 44-31 lead at the break.

In addition to his hot shooting, Altman praised Richardson's floor game.

"That was Will being real aggressive and really making some good plays," Altman said.

Oregon shot 62% in the first half, including 8-of-12 3-point shooting. Oregon State, often working against the shot clock, shot 46% before halftime but hit only 3 of 11 3-pointers.

An Oregon State 12-1 run midway through the first half had the Beavers within five. but Oregon responded with a 12-2 burst.

Oregon played most of the first half with Omoruyi on the bench because he picked up two fouls in less that two minutes at the start of the game.

Oregon lost by three at home to Washington State in the only meeting between the Ducks and Cougars. It beat Arizona State by 11 in Tempe in the only game against the Sun Devils.

UCLA won the only game between the Beavers and Bruins by five points at Pauley Pavilion.

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