— Sam Finley, EDN Sports Editor
Duck Men Get A Huge Victory, Women Take A Step Back
The Oregon men’s basketball team needed a big win at home and they got it on Thursday night. A few days after getting beaten in a heart breaker at Colorado, the Ducks took out their frustrations on conference-leading Washington 82-57. It was a night when everything seem to click for Oregon at Matt Knight Arena.
“We just needed a game like that,” explained forward E.J. Singler. “After losing at Colorado, we knew needed to take the next two at home. We know how big they are, and we just wanted to come out and play with a lot of passion. I thought us playing with a lot of enthusiasm really sparked us.”
The biggest spark, without question, came from guard Garrett Sim. He scored the first eight points of the game, and was one of three Ducks with 13 points. Oregon’s ability to jump on the athletic Huskies early was crucial to the victory, as it forced UW to play chase for the remainder of the evening. Moreover, it provided the home crowd of 9,035 a reason to make plenty of noise.
“We gave the crowd something to cheer about,” said head coach Dana Altman. “Garrett hitting those first shots really got the fans in the game. There was a lot of intensity in the building and that really helped us.”
The win catapulted the Ducks into a three-way tie for third in the Pac-12 conference, as well as place them a game behind Cal and Washington for first place. Now the Ducks need a similar effort again on Saturday afternoon to stay in the race. They’ll face Washington State, before heading on the road against Cal and Stanford next week.
Meanwhile, the Oregon women’s team came up just a little short in Seattle on Thursday night. The Ducks rallied from a 15 point second-half deficit, but it wasn’t enough as Washington held on for a 72-69 victory.
There was one bright spot in the loss: Amanda Johnson had another sensational game. Johnson put up 26 points, and it’s clear she’s recovered well from the thumb injury that sidelined her for a few weeks.
The loss snapped Oregon’s two game winning streak (over Utah and Colorado last week) and now have an overall record of 13-11 (5-7 in the Pac-12). The Ducks will look to regroup against 10-14 Washington State in Pullman on Saturday.
OSU Men Fall, Beaver Women Keep Rising
Jared Cunningham can’t do it by himself. The Beavers’ point guard led his team with 33 points, but his team got flattened 83-73 against Washington State on Thursday night. A shocking outcome for two reasons. First of all, Oregon State was playing in Corvallis. Secondly, it seemed like the Beavers were starting to play together and this effort was a setback.
Perhaps on a night when Cunningham put up great numbers, it is this single digit that doomed Oregon State: Zero. That’s the number of points the Oregon State bench scored in the first half. As a result, the Cougars were able to build a 15 point advantage and remained in control the rest of the way.
Now the Beavers find themselves with a 5-7 Pac-12 record (15-9 overall), and tied for eighth in the conference standings. If that wasn’t bad enough, Oregon State will be facing a very dangerous Washington squad on Saturday. The Pac-12 leaders took one on the chin in Eugene on Thursday, and will no doubt bring their ‘A’ game to Gill Coliseum as a result. In other words, head coach Craig Robinson had better make the necessary adjustments or it could be a long day.
Over on the women’s side, there’s plenty to smile about for OSU. The Beavers won their fifth game in a row on Thursday night, defeating Washington State 51-39 in Pullman. Just consider it one more impressive notch on this year’s resume for them.
Scott Rueck’s team now has an overall 16-7 record, and now finds themselves in third place in the Pac-12 standings. The Beavers will visit Washington on Saturday, before a real measuring stick comes next week. That’s when the always tough Bay Area schools (Cal and Stanford) visit Corvallis. Should be an interesting few games for this bunch.