SEATTLE, WA.- The Ducks were heading into Seattle having lost their last four consecutive games. On Thursday night, Oregon battled against the Washington Huskies, looking to find themselves and maybe pull out a win. This song has been playing for too long, however, as the Huskies pulled out a nail-bitting 80-76 win to push the Ducks to a five-game losing streak.
Oregon started off the game shooting well as they pushed out to a 7-2 start. Washington quickly recovered to maintain a trade-off between the two teams for the rest of the game. Initially, both teams were looking to run, and both teams were pretty successful with their transition offenses; able to draw fouls, get to the line, and convert on open shot opportunities. Both teams kept their composure, not allowing one another to take any lead that was of any significance.
While Washington’s Andrew Andrews and star C.J. Wilcox were carrying the load for the Huskies with 12 and 9 points, respectively, Oregon was able to move the ball around well, allowing everyone to touch the ball and get theirs, just as we were taught as young kids back in YMCA basketball.
Both squads hounded each other, making it very difficult to get good shots off – even though both teams were able to move the ball well. Oregon, specifically, was setting screens for pick-and-pop opportunities, allowing their shooters to show off their beautiful strokes.
Joseph Young, who had been struggling his past two games, led all scorers with 7, while Damyean Dotson had 6, and Mike Moser, Richard Amardi and Jason Calliste each had 5. It was what any coach could have wanted, and it was anyone’s game at the half as Oregon led, 35-33.
With both teams moving the ball around patiently, and effectively, Oregon and Washington both shot 45%. The only part of the scoreboard that the Ducks needed to improve on was their turnovers, as they had nine at the half. Coach Altman after the game said, “We needed to hold onto the ball better,” in regards to the first half.
It all came down to an exciting, yet unfortunate second half. Both teams continued to battle it out point-for-point, but where Oregon lost the game was their own three-point shooting.
While usually the trey is the Ducks’ go-to game, tonight they shot a bad 4-15 from beyond the arc, while Washington was able to hit 7-13 (58%).
Here’s a basketball rule of thumb, if a team expects to win, giving up a 58% three-point percentage is definitely a cardinal sin, and tells us that the Oregon defense simply wasn’t there in the second half.
While both teams were moving the ball and getting good shots off, Washington was able to convert on relatively open looks, and the Ducks couldn’t. Also, Oregon star Mike Moser was no where to be found during the second half. Every team needs their go-to guy, and at this point in the season, someone should have established that role for the Ducks.
With 40 seconds to go, the Ducks were down by only one, but C.J. Wilcox nailed a three over Johnathan Loyd, who had backed off of him instead of playing him tight.
Oregon’s defense has been questionable since their streak began, and so has their ability to make good passes and not turn the ball over. The energy is there, but the execution is missing, and that’s something talent won’t fix. The Ducks play Washington State on Sunday, and will look to finally turn things around by getting that second conference win.
Top photo by Gary Breedlove