CORVALLIS, OR – The Ducks haven’t been playing their best basketball as of late, and they continued their struggles against their next door neighbor and Civil War foe, the Beavers, on Sunday afternoon. Oregon is the third-highest scoring squad in the nation, averaging 88.4 ppg, but tonight, their biggest strength was their biggest weakness.
Both teams looked like they were ready for a battle before the game, but Oregon State put the foot on the peddle just a little harder than the Ducks did, which led to a scoring spurt. To put it simply, Oregon State shot 70% from the field in the first half, while the Ducks . . . didn’t.
The Beavers were able to move the ball much better around the three-point line, and that led to execution on the inside because players closed-out too hard on the Oregon State shooters.
On the flip side, Oregon’s star player Mike Moser shot a sub-par 2-9 (22%) from the field, and the rest of the starters shot just 3-18 (17%).
The Oregon starters just couldn’t figure it out offensively. Thankfully, Oregon’s bench, which has been struggling in the past three losses, came alive. Jason Calliste led the team, as he scored 17 points off the bench. Ben Carter had six, while Richard Amardi added a strong seven points.
Even with all of the havoc and mayhem going on in OSU’s favor, the Ducks were still able to cut the 13-point lead that Oregon State built, down to seven points, 37-30, at the half.
The past few losses, it has been the Ducks’ defense that was at fault. However, in this one, it was Oregon, who came into this game shooting 41% from three, throwing up an atrocious 14.3% figure from downtown, resulting in the 80-72 loss.
Oregon State’s defense and energy was way too much for the Ducks to handle in this one. Although the Ducks did make somewhat of a comeback they were constantly held to about a seven- to eight-point deficit throughout the second half that they simply couldn’t dig themselves out of.
Oregon had many opportunities to start making a comeback at any point in the second half, as they did create 20 turnovers. The Beavs, however, managed to negate a great many of those by forcing the Ducks into turnovers of their own.
If the Ducks are looking to start getting back on track, there are a few things they need to ensure they’re doing well. Number one is to continue working on their defensive game. Tonight was a great start, but they need to stay disciplined with their footwork, rotate well in the 3-2 zone they love to run and continue to make sure they’re all communicating well.
The next biggest issue would have to be their half-court offensive sets. Today looked a bit better than the recent past, but somehow they still shot an ugly 38% from the field. The ball was moving around well, people were cutting, but the ball simply wasn’t dropping.
Duck fans should be confident, despite recent setbacks, that the team has the potential to make a tourney run, and they every team has it’s good moments and its bad moments; the Ducks are just stuck in one of the latter. They need to continue to grind through the difficult times, as it’s still early enough for them to recover and play like the Ducks that we loved to watch earlier in the year.
(Top picture by Kevin Cline)