The Oregon’s Ducks(14-5, 2-5) victory over the Washington State Cougars(8-12, 1-7) was set in stone once Cougars best player Devonte Lacy was pronounced inactive due to a rib injury six games ago. However, the Ducks won in more than convincing fashion, 71-44, and eased the doubts of UO hoops fans worldwide. Plus, the Ducks snapped a five game losing streak while achieving their first regulation victory of the Pac-12 season.
Though WSU was playing short-handed, the UO defense really stepped up and delivered its most impressive performance of the season. The Cougars couldn’t get by Ducks guards and were forced to settle for contested three-pointer…after contested three-pointer. In fact, WSU went over 60 percent of the game without making multiple two-point field goals. They finished with an unheard of two two-point field goals in the entire game. Plus, the Cougars ended up shooting 26 of their 40 shots from beyond the arc and only made eight three-point attempts.
In addition, not a single WSU player scored over 10 points and their leading scorer, Que Johnson, shot 30 percent from the floor during his nine point effort. The only WSU player to shoot above 50 percent was Brett Boese, who shot 2-3 in five minutes of action.
The Ducks were led by Jason Calliste, who was red hot from three and didn’t miss a field goal until halfway through the second half. The backup guard finished with 20 points on 8-10 from the field and 4-6 beyond the arc. He also carried Oregon in the first half. While the rest of his teammates shot 6-20, he made all six of his FGA in half one. in his last three game’s, Calliste has gone 18-27 and has been the UO leading scorer twice. His string of exemplary performances bring to question his current role as a bench player.
Before Pac-12 play, Joseph Young was the player that UO could most count on to perform at a high level on a consistent basis. However, he has made just 17-50 FGA in his last four games. Still, Young was the only player besides Calliste to reach double figures in scoring(10). If Young can dig out of this slump and if Calliste can maintain consistency, the Ducks should be in good shape moving forward.
To complement its stout defense, UO dominated the Cougars on the glass, grabbing 14 offensive rebounds compared to just seven for WSU. However, the plethora of WSU missed shots mostly accounts for the ridiculous plus 19 overall rebound disparity in favor of UO. Ben Carter and Mike Moser led the way on the boards with nine rebounds apiece.
Despite the win, the Ducks remain third to last in the Pac-12, one spot behind Oregon State and five games behind Arizona.
On Thursday, Oregon will face off against the Pac-12’s third ranked team, UCLA, at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene. Next Saturday, UO finishes off a two game home stand against USC, who is second to last in the Pac-12. Shaking off the losing streak was a good stepping stone, but the Ducks still must improve their resume by defeating a quality Pac-12 opponents in UCLA and definitely a mediocre USC team.