LOS ANGELES, CA. – After an incredible double-OT win against UCLA on Thursday, the Ducks had little time to prepare for the Bruins’ cross-town rival USC on Saturday afternoon. Earlier this season the Ducks defeated the Trojans, 78-66, and this time it wasn’t much different.
Both teams started off making shot for shot – literally – as both teams finished shooting 46.2% from the field. Although each team had a difficult time getting the ball in the basket, eventually they both started to hit and make it a battle.
Oregon’s challenge in the beginning was simply moving the ball around to find the open guy. The guys were stagnant, and weren’t attacking the basket. Thankfully, big man Mike Moser was able to carry over his incredible play from Thursday’s game against UCLA to this one, as he was the main offensive and defensive threats for the Ducks.
It’s nice to see Moser starting to play again like what we saw early in the season, as the Ducks are going to need their most talented players to play their best coming down the stretch of the season and potentially into the NCAA tournament.
On the other side, the bad guys’ Pe’Shon Howard decided to get to the line seemingly every play, as he finished the first half with 16 points, including 8-8 from the line. Oregon’s main weaknesses in the first half were their interior defense, and offensive flow.
With the halftime score of 36-36, Coach Altman knew something had to be done to not allow the cellar-dwelling Trojans to stay in this one. Altman made some adjustments in the second half that led to the Ducks running away with this one the way most of us expected the Ducks to initially.
Oregon moved the ball around much better, played much more disciplined defense, and simply looked the part of the better team as Oregon finished the Trojans off in a 78-63 win.
USC maintained close throughout the first part of the second half, but at about the 8-minute mark, the Ducks said enough is enough! Oregon began hounding the Trojans, as well as playing a little press to disrupt the Trojan offense.
The Ducks held Howard to 20 points after his dominant first half, making it very difficult for USC to find other scorers to make up for his dominance.
Mike Moser went for a strong double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds, boosting his confidence and giving the Ducks a little mojo as the season comes to an end. Oregon will battle Arizona State this week, as well as the biggest challenge of them all — the Arizona Wildcats.
Both of these games will be huge in deciding whether or not the Ducks should be in the tournament. Unfortunately, both teams are very good squads, and this will be a huge challenge for the Ducks. We’ve seen Oregon struggle this season, and we’ve seen them succeed, so which Oregon team will decide to finish off this season? The best is yet to come, and this is why we love our Oregon Ducks!
(Top Photo from Video)