It was a hard fought battle for the Oregon Ducks last night in a hostile Gill Coliseum. The Beavers definitely came to play, and the fans were rocking. Oregon was able to leave the Coliseum with a 79-66 win. While the Ducks won by 13 points, the game was much closer until the last 10 minutes of play.
For most of the night the Beavers operated in a man defense. Utilizing their height down low in an attempt to control the boards. Their tough D on the outside was able to hold Oregon to just 18.8% from behind the arc. The Ducks went just 3-16 from 3-point range, with two of the three coming from Freshman Damyean Dotson.
To counteract this defense, Oregon operated with a high low post at all times. With Tony Woods on the low post more than usual. After Oregon would swing the ball on the outside, that opened up the backside post allowing for 3 alley-oops. Oregon State didn’t play much zone, but when they did, the Ducks pressured them by driving to the hoop. This led to a few easy E.J. Singler layups, and some kickout passes for open jumpers.
Despite the low percentage from behind the arc, the Ducks shot well enough in all phases of the game to end with a 49.2% field goal percentage. The play of Freshman guards Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson was crucial to the win. Dotson ended with a career high 21 points, 15 of those points coming in the second half. Artis finished the game with 11 points, but it was his ability to control the flow of the game that was most effective. E.J. Singler also played like a true veteran putting up 15 points and 9 rebounds.
Oregon played tenacious defense throughout the game and won the turnover margin. The Ducks had 10 assists and 10 steals compared to just 12 turnovers. In contrast, the Beavers had just 8 assists and 4 steals compared to 14 turnovers. Jonathon Lloyd had a big steal from Ahmad Starks in the last minutes of the game to shut the Beavers down.
Oregon State’s Ahmad Starks almost single handedly kept the Beavers in the game. This forced the Ducks into a strange defensive formation. Playing zone D with four players, and putting their best defender face up in man defense on Starks. Despite this change, Starks was still able to put up 22 points. The Beavers’ Roberto Nelson added another 18 points for Oregon State.
After suffering a concussion against Nevada, it was a game time decision whether Arsalan Kazemi would play or not. Luckily he did. While he was quiet in the first half, it was his performance in the last 10 minutes that was key to Oregon’s win. Pulling down offensive rebounds for second chance points, and throwing down a thundering dunk on a fast break to put the game out of reach.
Despite the size of the Beavers, Oregon was able to continue their rebounding dominance. The Ducks out rebounded Oregon State 39-29, sticking with their trend of being a top 25 team in rebounding margin per game. Singler and Kazemi were huge on the boards for Oregon, hauling in 9 and 8 rebounds respectively.
Needless to say, both teams needed this win. The Ducks just wanted it more. Oregon is now 12-2 overall. More importantly, they are 1-0 in PAC-12 play. Oregon has it’s biggest test of the season coming up against No. 4 Arizona. The Ducks are still on the outside looking in with regards to the top 25. A win over Arizona would be huge and would most likely give Oregon the push it needs to break into the rankings.