Oregon, Oregon State men's basketball clash as Ducks win thriller
After not seeing the court for a while, the Ducks and Beavers nearly went an extra five minutes in their return to action.
Oregon (9-6, 2-2 Pac-12) outlasted Oregon State in a 78-76 thriller at Gill Coliseum on Monday, Jan. 10. The Ducks took the lead on a late Eric Williams 3-pointer with 12 seconds to play, and the Beavers were unable to score at the buzzer as Warith Alatishe's layup rimmed out.
The Ducks have now won three straight games since falling to top-ranked Baylor back on Dec. 18. The product was not always perfect for Oregon — most notably, the team went 8-for-18 from the free throw line in a game they won by just two points. That has been a thorn in the Ducks' side all year long, and the team currently ranks 336th in the country with a 64.6 percent rate from the stripe.
On the positive side, the team escapes with a road win in league play, which is never an easy task. The way they got there was through a strong effort on the offensive glass. Oregon corralled 17 offensive rebounds in the contest — more than 40 percent of the available rebounds on that end of the floor. By creating additional opportunities, frontcourt players like Williams and N'Faly Dante kept the Beavers from building momentum via their tenacious defense.
The game was also an important one for Williams in particular. The former Duquesne transfer showed flashes of brilliance in his first season with Oregon last year, but he had been struggling in the team's past eight games. Williams was removed from the starting lineup following the Ducks' loss to Stanford, and he had only scored five total points in his past four appearances. On Monday night, he scored 14 — including the game-winning 3-pointer.
As for Oregon State (3-11, 1-3 Pac-12), the on-court product was arguably more important than the final result. During the Beavers' 10-game losing streak that spanned from Nov. 12 to Dec. 18, the team's first five losses came by an average of 4.2 points. As the hole deepened, so did the margin of victory; the margin of defeat in the next five games was 13.8 points. Though Oregon State can't celebrate a win over their in-state rival, they can take solace in the fact that they weren't blown out.
Furthermore, the team showed off some of its trademark grit that was fully evident last season — and which was sorely lacking in some of the Beavers' earlier losses. Oregon State nearly allowed the lead to creep back into double digits late in the second half, but the Beavers answered just about every Oregon attack with a counterattack of their own. The game truly deserved to go to overtime, but the fates were working against OSU as Alatishe's late lay-in caromed off the iron.
The biggest problem for Oregon State was that Jarod Lucas could not get his outside game going. The Californian sharpshooter has a permanent green light from head coach Wayne Tinkle, but Lucas was a frustrating 0-for-8 from beyond the arc against Oregon. Those types of games are few and far between for Lucas, but his streakiness is nothing new. On the bright side, OSU got strong offensive performances from Alatishe, Roman Silva and Dashawn Davis, and reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Week Glenn Taylor Jr. continues to show off his skills on both ends of the court.
While Oregon takes the first round of the rivalry, both teams have plenty of positives to take away from their game on Monday — especially in the wake of each program's disappointing start to the season. The Ducks and Beavers are scheduled to play again at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene on Jan. 29.
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