— Sam Finley, EDN Sports Editor
Duck Men and Women Look To Get Back On Track
It wasn’t the way the Ducks wanted to go out on the road. The Oregon men’s basketball team fell 76-71 against Oregon State on Sunday. The defeat to their state rivals snapped the Ducks’ four game winning streak as well as knocked them out of a tie for first place in the Pac-12. But forward Tyrone Nared claims they’re not thinking about that at the moment.
“Our main focus is to bounce back from a terrible loss,” said Nared. “We feel like we beat ourselves with 23 turnovers. We were at home, and we didn’t take advantage of it. So we’re going to be very focused against Utah.”
Without question, sloppy ball-handling was a big reason why the Ducks fell to the Beavers. The fact that they couldn’t throw the ball into the Willamette River for a spell didn’t help, either. Oregon only shot around 38 percent for the game, and head coach Dana Altman was not pleased with the lackluster output on offense.
“Our execution was not good offensively,” Altman stated. “That’s my fault. We didn’t have guys in the right spots, and I’m very disappointed. A lot of that goes to Oregon State. Their athleticism put us on our heels, and we just didn’t execute.”
Still, the Ducks have a 6-3 conference record and are only a game out of first place. By the same token, they know that every game is critical to their postseason hopes. Thus, there has been a sense of urgency in practice this week.
“It’s been a little stressful,” Nared explained. “Anytime you have losses like our last one, we hurt our chances of making the tournament. That’s our goal right now, obviously.”
Fortunately for Oregon, they’ve been good on the road recently. They swept the Arizona schools on the last trip, and will need a similar performance this week. The Ducks will first visit Utah (15-6, 2-7 in Pac 12) on Thursday night, before getting what might be a tougher joust against Colorado (14-7, 6-3 in Pac-12) on Saturday.
“We’ve had some good road performances,” said Altman. “This team doesn’t seem to get overly-excited playing at home, and doesn’t seem to get too tight on the road. Going on the road has not hurt us in the past. We’ve got five more on the road, and they are all going to be tough.”
Meanwhile, the Oregon women are also coming off a tough loss to their state rivals. The Ducks fell to the Beavers 67-60 last Saturday in Corvallis.
Oregon now has an overall record of 11-10 and is 3-6 in Pac-12 play. Still, there is a ray of hope for the Ducks as they enter the second half of the conference season. After missing 11 games due to a hand injury, forward Amanda Johnson returned to the lineup over the weekend, and led the team in scoring with 16 points in the defeat.
Head coach Paul Westhead will need Johnson to remain healthy for Oregon to hold onto their currently slim postseason hopes. They’ll be at home this week, hosting Utah on Thursday night and Colorado on Saturday afternoon.
Beavers Should Be Confident This Week
Craig Robinson’s crew got a big win on Sunday. The Beaver men upset the Oregon Ducks 76-71 at Matt Knight Arena, and it should provide a spark as they head into the second half of conference play.
Oregon State is now 14-7 on the season (4-5 in the Pac-12) and has put themselves in a realistic position for a possible postseason bid. A big reason for the Beavers’ recent three game winning streak has been the play of their very athletic guards. Jared Cunningham led the way with 27 points against Oregon, and Ahmad Starks was second with 15.
They’ll need a similar effort this week as they head out on the road. The Beavers will not start the trip with an easy one on Thursday when they take on Colorado. OSU will close out their road swing at Utah on Saturday. Still, after a big win in Eugene, this is a team that should be brimming with confidence as they seem to be playing together at the right time.
The same can probably said about the Oregon State women’s team. The Beavers defeated Oregon 67-60 at Gill Coliseum last Saturday, as they continue to play well above expectations.
Ali Gibson led the way once again this past weekend. She scored a career-high 23 points against the Ducks with 15 coming from three-pointers.
Oregon State is now 13-7 on the season (4-5 in Pac-12 play) and hopes to keep up their winning ways with two home contests this week. They’ll host Colorado on Thursday evening, and then play Colorado on Saturday.