The Ducks pulled off yet another close and ugly victory yesterday over the Cougars of Washington State in Pullman. Playing for a 7th consecutive game without point guard Dominic Artis, the Ducks managed to find a way to come up with the win. Trailing by as much 18 in the first half, Oregon continued the theme of tough defense mixed with ugly, yet effective slashing offense to fight and claw their way back into the game and ultimately to the victory.
Since Artis’ absence, the Ducks assist to turnover ratio has plummeted and the offense has been stagnant for long stretches of time. This has led to an ugly brand of basketball that the Ducks seem to finally be embracing. The Ducks once again yesterday had more turnovers than assists as a team, but are starting to find ways to win despite that. Rebounding combined with an unmatched defensive intensity are how these Artisless Ducks are starting to win ball games. By no means have these past seven games been pretty. We are 4-3 without Artis, but have now put together three straight wins to regain control of the conference.
The Ducks head into the final three weekends of regular season with a one game conference lead, and own tiebreakers with UCLA and Arizona. These ugly looking Ducks are sure coming through (albeit barely), and have put themselves in position to win the Pac-12 regular season crown for the first time in more than a decade. These Ducks finally are embracing their roles and are starting to understand their limits and how to play without Dominic Artis.
We may be winning ugly, but winning is all that matters.