The Ducks had a rough first half against #19 Michigan in their semifinal game of the Progressive Legends Classic tournament. A penalty on the tip, originally won by Oregon, gave the ball to the Michigan offense. Michigan Sophomore Zak Irvin knocked down a three to put the Wolverines up and they led the entire first half until Dillon Brooks went on a seven point run to tie the game for the Ducks at 25 all. Unfortunately that was as close as they got in the first half despite six offensive rebounds and six fast break points.
The Michigan defense did a good job using their half- court defense to slow down Oregon’s transition game. The Ducks played strong on both sides of the ball, forcing six turnovers and holding Michigan’s three point field goal percentage to 30% but the Wolverines ended the first half on an 8-2 run, going into halftime with a 33-27 lead.
The second half saw the Ducks come out strong with a 7-3 run to pull within one; however, the Wolverines once again held off the Ducks’ high powered transition attack. The Ducks got themselves into foul trouble early, giving Michigan 22 free throws in the second half alone. Brooks fouled out with 1:17 left to give the Ducks a short bench to fight back against a three point deficit. Despite Michigan sending Joseph Young to the foul line three consecutive times with less than two minutes to play, the Wolverines held off the Ducks to win 70-63.
The unranked Ducks kept the game close all night, never trailing by more than eight points. Once again Young was the leader for the Ducks offense, scoring 20 points (5-16 FG, 8-8 FT). The Ducks continued to dominate the glass reining in 18 offensive rebounds and 41 overall.
A blow was dealt with 2:47 left in the game when Dwayne Benjamin rolled his ankle and was later seen being helped to the locker room. Benjamin was a force in the paint for the Ducks bringing in a team leading 11 rebounds as well as 8 points.
In the end the Ducks just couldn’t slow down Michigan stars Irvin and Caris LeVert. Despite the Ducks holding LeVert to 3-13 from the floor he sank 11 of 13 free throws. Irvin played all over the court, shooting 50% from behind the three-point line and making all four free throws.
The Ducks will play VCU tomorrow and have another chance to show what they are made of. As the only unranked team in the tournament they came out and made the Wolverines work for every second of the game. With only two returning starters from last year’s team the Ducks are sure to improve as the season progresses. Despite the loss tonight, Oregon is by no means out of the race to participate in March Madness.
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