Matthew Knight Arena: where unbeaten teams go to die.
It doesn’t quite have the same flair as Autzen Stadium, but the Oregon men’s basketball team took care of business this week on the national stage. After knocking the undefeated No. 2 UCLA on Wednesday night, 89-87 on a Dillon Brooks buzzer beater, the No. 21 Ducks beat another unscathed team in Eugene with a 84-61 blowout of No. 22 USC on Friday.
“We knew after Christmas, coach told us, ‘Go home, free up your mind and when you come back be focused,'” Oregon senior forward Chris Boucher said via a GoDucks story. “We knew coming back it would be a tough stretch and we had two undefeated teams to beat.”
Brooks’ shot against the Bruins reminded many of the 2006 shot by former Ducks standout Aaron Brooks, a game-winner against then unbeaten and and top-ranked UCLA.
On Friday, Oregon coach Dana Altman picked up a milestone with his 700th career win. Brooks once again carried the Ducks, scoring a team-high 28 points in just 24 minutes on the court.
It was a momentous stand by Oregon (13-2, 2-0 in Pac-12 play), which extends its home winning streak to 35 games at Matthew Night Arena, the third longest such streak in the nation.
After a less-than-ideal start to the regular season, losing two of its first five games, including a 17-point blowout at the hands of Baylor, the Ducks have won 11 straight and are sure to make a big jump in the newly updated rankings Monday.
Oregon will take on Washington and Washington State next week, its first conference road games of the season. Should the Ducks continue to pile up wins, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them back in the top 10, possibly the top five, of the rankings.