Franklin Bains

It’s Time For Oregon Men’s Basketball To Get National Respect

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Ever since the Associated Press Poll results came back after Oregon’s come-from-behind overtime win over Ole Miss, I’ve noticed something. Though the Ducks have been outperforming all pre-season expectations, and recently welcomed back stars Dominic Artis and Ben Carter from suspensions with the team unscathed by losses, there’s seemed to be an invisible barrier between Eugene’s Webfoots and the rest of the nation’s elite.

A glass ceiling, if you will.

Ducks Forward Richard Amardi
Duck forward Richard Amardi tries for a layup in Tuesday’s game against the UC Irvine Anteaters. (Don Olson/Fishduck.com)

Minus key players, the 11-0 Ducks have only failed to reach 80 or more points twice and never scored fewer than 69 in their first nine appearances. Now that they have Artis and Carter back in the roster, the only remaining question becomes how the team will reintroduce the two.

After all, there’s no question the team can put points on the board. Joseph Young has been called un-guardable by the Ducks’ do-everything forward Mike Moser. The two have been sheer forces within and outside of the 3-point line. Young’s greatest contribution will likely be thanks to a new rule this fall in the NCAA, which has greatly increased the rate of free throws in games this year.

Young’s ability to attack the interior on offense forces opposing defenders to handcheck his drives at the basket more forcefully — leading to him shooting 6.6 free throws per game this season. So far, that’s 1.6 more trips to the line per game than he earned a year ago when he played more minutes per game.

Moser’s scoring — seemingly more important when Young’s eligibility was in question — has taken a backseat to his rebounding. The Grant High (Portland, Ore.) alumnus leads the Ducks in rebounds with 7.6 per game.

Duck guard Joseph Young battles in the post with UC Irvine's Goliath 7-foot-6 center Mamadou Ndiaye.  (Don Olson/Fishduck.com)
Duck guard Joseph Young battles in the post with UC Irvine’s Goliath 7-foot-6 center Mamadou Ndiaye. (Don Olson/Fishduck.com)

These two will have a lot to say about the upcoming Pac-12 conference race; however, while they’ll command the headlines and attention, it’s Oregon’s overall scoring depth that commands respect. Six Ducks are scoring at least 10 points per game and the suddenly enhanced guard depth is looking good spacing the floor.

The AP voters corrected the original mistake of dropping an undefeated, surging and ultimately fun school two spots after winning a road game. Now, it’s time for the AP voters to correct one more time.

Hey mid-American AP voters. We haven’t talked in a while, I know, but I think you needed to hear from someone on the west coast. There’s enough of you giving Duke, Baylor and Wichita State high placements that Oregon is currently ranked 13th behind several teams with more losses and less depth.

Duke has more name recognition and a little guy named Jabari Parker. Baylor has shiny uniforms. But Oregon has looked like one of the best scoring teams in college basketball, and now adds to that.

I’m not arguing that Oregon is a top-5 team yet. The team needs to prove it can play good team defense and rebound at a higher level before that happens. Ben Carter will help with that. Just win the games you need to win, and you’ll be properly ranked; lose and none of this matters. I get that. There’s a lot of season left and a lot of this should sort itself out.

Should, though, that’s a fun word. What happens, for instance, if Oregon takes care of its business and ends the season with less than 3 wins, but so do 9 or 10 other teams? If the opinion of the majority stays as it is, the Ducks might get barred from the elite seeds in March Madness.

We’ve seen this happen before to a recent Oregon team. Last year’s team stumbled backward into the NCAA tournament; however, with a statement win in the Pac-12 tournament, the Ducks were seeded at No. 12 with some of the overachieving mid-major schools. It ended up being a blessing in disguise as the underrated Ducks ravaged their slightly overrated foes.

Duck forward Ben Carter tries a layup against November exhibition opponent Point Loma. Carter played his first regular season game with the team on Tuesday after serving a nine-game suspension for violation of NCAA rules. (Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)
Duck forward Ben Carter tries a layup against November exhibition opponent Point Loma. Carter played his first regular season game with the team on Tuesday after serving a nine-game suspension for violation of NCAA rules. (Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)

But that really shouldn’t happen this year. With Artis and Carter back on board, the team boasts two legit groups of five that could best many starters in the country.

1: Dominic Artis, Joseph Young, Damyean Dotson, Mike Moser, Ben Carter

2: Johnathan Loyd, Jason Calliste, Jalil Abdul-Bassit, Elgin Cook, Richard Amardi

Both groups have proven their mettle, both lines are full of rebounders, scorers and ball handlers. In short, the Ducks run ten-deep with strong tournament-ready talent. To not recognize this team’s place among the nation’s best now is to start putting them at a disadvantage.

Despite a handful of cupcakes on the schedule this year, the Ducks have played three 2013 NCAA tournament teams — all away from home. And they won all three in gritty, grinding affairs.

If the Ducks remain undefeated on January 12, 2014, having defeated No. 20 Colorado on the road, and both Cal and Stanford at home, there’s no justification for holding them out of the top 10.

Boise State Coach Chris Petersen Hired at Washington

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The west-coast coaching carousel is now in full swing as Boise State coach Chris Petersen has agreed to terms with the Washington Huskies to be their new head football coach.

Chris Petersen will be the new coach of the Washington Huskies. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Chris Petersen will be the new coach of the Washington Huskies. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Following Steve Sarkisian’s first 8-win season in his young career, USC hired the Washington head coach to lead the illustrious program, leaving a vacancy for the Huskies. Sarkisian coached at Washington for five full years after five previous years as an assistant at USC, and he’ll take over for interim head coach Ed Orgeron.

Meanwhile, in Seattle, Petersen takes to the northwest and the Pac-12 with his coaching stock as high as it could probably be. After seven consecutive 10-win seasons, the Broncos under Petersen have had one “off” year in 2013 where they lost four games and look headed for the Poinsettia Bowl. Considering the recent past, this is a bit of a disappointment, but still would be a great season in the history of the program.

Though Boise made a name for itself with its blue field and big calls against Oklahoma in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl, it has maintained that status with the long tenure of Petersen. In 104 career games with the Broncos, he won 92 of them — an amazing record in any conference. Because while the very real talking point was always that Boise succeeded largely because of its favorable conference schedule, it’s impossible to win that many games without being a great coach.

With Jim Mora reviving UCLA’s program and Todd Graham putting the ASU Sun Devils in the 2013 Pac-12 title game, new coaches are upping the ante in the conference and Petersen only adds to that.

Oregon Men’s Basketball: Ducks Grind out 69-54 Win Over Utah Valley

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It’s safe to say that the Ducks (3-0) weren’t exactly the same shooters against the Utah Valley Wolverines (2-2) that they were last week against Western Carolina. They missed 37 shots, and finished the night 6-for-21 from deep after starting with a hot 4-for-8.

But the rebounders were there as Oregon compiled 41 rebounds in a more gritty 69-54 game against Utah Valley.

Richard Amardi vs. UVU | Photo by Nate Barrett/Eric Evans
Richard Amardi vs. UVU | Photo by Nate Barrett/Eric Evans

“We beat ’em on the boards, but we should’ve,” head coach Dana Altman said. “I thought we were a step slow all night.”

Mike Moser, a double-double machine at UNLV, came quite close to his first double-double at Oregon with 8 points and 9 rebounds. Altman mentioned Moser as someone he’d like to see increase his rebounds, and Moser came through as a big part of the Ducks’ early success rebounding.

The Ducks took their first 16-point lead on a Waverly Austin dunk with 10 left in the first half, but they allowed the Wolverines to hang around going into the intermission. After giving up a 17-3 run, Oregon’s advantage was only 29-25 as the teams reached the half. The second half started slow as well, but Oregon took that as their cue to drive harder at the basket.

“I know I wasn’t happy, coach wasn’t happy, it’s not good enough,” said guard Jason Calliste. “Just because we’re up doesn’t mean the game’s over.”

After an 8-3 first-half foul battle favoring Utah Valley, Oregon turned the tables in the second half, drawing 8 fouls against 3 of their own with 10 minutes left. Leading the charge as Oregon made its run to put UVU away was Damyean Dotson, who started 0-for-6, but finished with 8 points and 5 rebounds.

The reasons for the limited attacking early was obvious. Utah Valley held back a bit on defense, and didn’t press the issue. This led to 14 first-half threes and just two (both missed) free throws.

“The soft defense, they didn’t extend their defense. We gave into it,” Altman said. “In the first half, we just shot it. The ball movement wasn’t there.”

After 6 more minutes of a single digit advantage, Dotson and defensive specialist Elgin Cook took over. An and-one for Dotson gave the Ducks a 21-point advantage with just under nine minutes left that wouldn’t be challenged.

Also big on the Ducks’ push was the newcomer and box-score stuffer, Joseph Young. Quietly leading the Ducks in scoring after a quality first half, Young finished with 20 points, six of which came as a result of his 3 steals.

Senior Johnathan Loyd started and passed Kamakaze Kid Mike Drummond to take No. 8 on the career UO assists list. With 312 assists in his four years at Oregon, Loyd needs just four to pass Oregon great Terrell Brandon. With three steals, he’s also just two steals away from passing Maarty Leunen on the all-time steals list.

Loyd finished with 12 points, followed by Richard Amardi with 9, Moser with 8, Dotson with 8, and Calliste with 5.

Calliste didn’t leap from the box score, though Altman singled him out as being especially strong on defense in the second half on specific possessions. After the game, he specified the obvious difference between this game and last week.

“We had to get stops tonight. Once you get it going, you think you can outscore a team. It’s not going to happen every night,” he said. “If you want to win, defense wins.”

The Ducks take on the San Francisco Dons on Sunday, 5 p.m. at Matthew Knight Arena.

Oregon Volleyball: Ducks Fall to Cardinal in Rough 3-1 Match

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Oregon (14-11, 7-8 Pac-12) had a big chance to take a commanding 2-1 set lead over Stanford (19-5, 12-3) in set three, taking the first six points and a 7-1 lead at one point. They had all the energy and momentum coming out of the locker room, and it looked like the upset was on — much like in Palo Alto last Thursday.

But the Ducks gave up five straight points in that third set — only scoring two after taking a 21-18 lead — and the demoralizing set loss was too much to overcome against the No. 6 Cardinal.

The Oregon Ducks and Stanford Cardinal during a crucial third set. The Cardinal won that set and the match, 3-1. (Franklin Bains/Eugene Daily News).
The Oregon Ducks and Stanford Cardinal during a crucial third set. The Cardinal won that set and the match, 3-1. (Franklin Bains/Eugene Daily News).

“We had three balls and we botched all three of them and we can’t do that against a team that’s that good,” head coach Jim Moore said. “It’s about winning the match, not about winning the set.”

Oregon lost the match 3-1, 15-25—25-20—23-25—15-25.

The Oregon attack was led by the usual suspects, as Liz Brenner and Ariana Williams (15 kills apiece) stole the show, while an even Stanford attack featured five attackers with at least 7 kills. Brenner was her usual vicious self, though in a more efficient form, finishing with a .263 attack percentage and just 5 errors.

Senior setter Lauren Plum had the heavy majority of Oregon’s 51 assists (43) with Brenner all over the court and earning 5 of the remaining 8, in addition to digging out 14 balls for the double double. Plum also put up a double-double with 17 kills and added 3 kills.

But ultimately, the sure-handed Cardinal squashed out the Ducks quite like how their football companions did last Thursday: with a physical defensive front and a plodding slow offense. Though the two teams matched each other in kills, Oregon had 17 more errors and 10.5 less blocks. The blocks up front weren’t necessarily the reason for Oregon’s DFPs (as Williams would explain: “Dumb … wink, wink”), though they certainly didn’t help Oregon’s attempts for a comeback.

“They’re a good blocking team,” Williams said, “but it wasn’t their blocking that held us, it was our side of the net.”

The devil’s in the details and the loss is in the errors here. As the Ducks led 21-20, they made five straight errors and ended up beating themselves … with absolutely no disrespect to their opponents, of course.

“Obviously, they’re very good,” Moore said of Stanford. “I still think they’re the best team in the conference. Very solid.”

With this week’s busy schedule for Duck athletics — Oregon plays two women’s basketball games, two volleyball matches, a men’s basketball game and a football game, all at home this week — the squad returns to action Friday night with another  tough opponent in No. 20 Cal. It’s a rough rebound, but it’s one the Ducks sound ready to take. Following this homestand, the Ducks get three matches on the road and the angry Beavers at home, so it doesn’t get much easier.

“We regroup, first play tomorrow night. It’s that simple,” Moore said.

Oregon Men’s Basketball: Young Gets Hot In Second Half As Ducks Bounce Catamounts, 107-83

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Oregon (2-0) trailed its early-season opponent from about the start of the game until the 12-minute mark when Mike Moser nailed a shot from deep that, coincidentally, broke a 12-all tie.

They never again trailed, and though star Western Carolina guard Trey Sumler (recently reactivated after an alleged assault) would challenge that lead, a career night for Joseph Young put the Catamounts away, 107-83.

Photo by Eric Evans
Joseph Young – Photo by Eric Evans/GoDucks

“Offensively, in the second half, we shot the ball extremely well,” head coach Dana Altman said. “Defensively, this team’s got a long way to go.”

Young scored 36, Moser scored 26 and Elgin Cook added half of his 16 from the line. In sum, the Ducks shot 47 free throws and sank 35 of them, a 74.5 percent clip.

In fact, were Young to not explode out of the intermission to start the second half with 17 of Oregon’s first 25 second half points, Western Carolina’s 34 fouls would’ve probably been the story.

But considering Young put up 28 points in the second half alone? This game was about him. Not only was 36 a career high for the Houston transfer — and the most by a Duck since Tajuan Porter hung up 38 on Portland State in 2006 — it was a Matthew Knight Arena record for points scored in the young arena.

“It just kind of came to me, I hit that first three … that’s what really opened the game up there.” Young said about his second half.

Where the Ducks’ lead wavered before halftime, and the intermission saw the Ducks walk away with just a 2-point lead, Oregon was unchallenged in the second frame. Once double-digits were earned, the Catamounts only reached within ten points three more times.

After Young’s barrage, all everyone could do was watch. He added four quick points to a half-opening three, and capped off the run with a barn-burning and-one that put fire in his eyes that you could see from press row.

“His eyes get like that, we just kinda start cheerleading,” Moser said.

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Helping the Ducks out in the second half was a tighter half offensively. After senior Johnathan Loyd hit the bench with two early fouls, backup point guard Jason Castille took up a lot of time on the floor and gave up three first-half turnovers. In the second half, Young and Loyd took control and the team gave up just four freebies.

“We had Jason out there too long,” Altman said. “We asked him to handle the ball for a long time.”

The new NCAA rules this year have had a demonstrable effect on rate and method of play, and especially with this team and Mr. Young. In post-game comments, Young said he liked the new ability to attack and get to the line. With the game’s 53 fouls, the junior guard shot 15 of 16 from the line. The hot start only encouraged Oregon’s players as they created several pretty layup attempts.

“When we hit a lot of threes, the floor got spread, and then driving lanes became even better,” Altman said.

The coach talked lightly after the game about his team’s ability to rebound from last week’s international trip to South Korea for last Friday’s game against Georgetown. He didn’t see jet lag as a very big factor for his players this week.

“We’re fine, those guys are young. It doesn’t bother them,” Altman said.

When asked how the Crete, Neb., native himself was handling the time change, he answered simply.

“Oh well, I’m fine.”

Oregon continues its season-opening home stand with Tuesday and Sunday games next week against Utah Valley and San Francisco. The meeting with the USF next Sunday will be the first meeting between the two schools since the Ducks bounced the Dons in June.

2013 Pac-12 Pick’em: Week Eleven

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Pac-12 football is back and we at EDN Sports will do a weekly Pac-12 Pick’em. Each week we’ll give you our picks and track how we’ve done so far.

Season Pick’em Standings:

  • Alex Shoemaker: 57-11 (4-0 last week)
  • Ryan Beltram: 53-15 (3-1)
  • Isaac Rosenthal: 53-15 (3-1)
  • Corey Buchanan: 52-16 (3-1)
  • Franklin Bains: 50-18 (2-2)
  • David Saez: 50-18 (3-1)* editor’s note below

Thursday

No. 3 Oregon (8-0, 5-0) at No. 5 Stanford (7-1, 5-1) 6 p.m., ESPN (Comcast 35)

All eyes will be on Palo Alto Thursday night for the showdown between the Ducks and Cardinal, two BCS experienced teams with huge national title game implications. The Ducks sit at No. 3 in the BCS standings behind Florida State and need a victory to stay in the hunt for the coveted crystal football.

X-factor: Trent Murphy vs. Byron Marshall. The rushing battle between these squads will determine the outcome. Both Marshall and Stanford’s Tyler Gaffney rank among the nation’s best ball-carriers, but with Stanford end Ben Gardner out, the task falls solely to Murphy who has possibly the tougher task in taking down the surging sophomore and his sturdy line.

Alex: Oregon  Isaac: Oregon   Corey: Oregon   Franklin: Oregon   RyanOregon

Saturday

USC (6-3, 3-2) at California (1-8, 0-6) 12 p.m., Fox (Comcast 5)

Following a disastrous start to the season, the USC Trojans are winners of three of their last four games and on the outside looking in at a potential Pac-12 title game appearance should they run the table. Meanwhile for the Bears, this season is lost beyond recovery. With the worst record in the conference, an upset win could spark some momentum for next season.

X-factor: Chris Harper vs. USC Secondary. The battle in the defensive backfield is Cal’s opportunity to strike as they are heavily overmatched in this one. The Bears will need freshman Jared Goff on point, but more importantly their receivers to work into open space, to have a chance against the Trojans that they haven’t beaten in nine years. There have been a lot of good Golden Bear teams in that time; Sonny Dykes and co. will need to take some chances in this one — this isn’t one of them.

Alex: USC  Isaac: USC   Corey: USC   Franklin: USC   RyanUSC

No. 22 Arizona State (6-2, 4-1) at Utah (4-4, 1-4) 1 p.m., Pac-12 Network (Comcast 420)

Utah has been one of the difficult teams in the Pac-12 to figure out all season. With impressive performances against Stanford and UCLA, this team has shown promise of being one of the best second-tier teams. But bad losses to Arizona and USC the past two games, this team could be on the verge of crumbling. However, a bye week to prepare for the Pac-12 South leading Sun Devils could be exactly that they need to turn this season around.

X-factor: Utah Defensive Front vs. ASU O Line. Utah’s first seven on defense are a quality bunch and they can get some damage done up front, especially against an ASU line that hasn’t really been tested. Utah has been known to keep games interesting this season and that won’t change this week if the Ute linebackers keep spark plug Marion Grice in front of them.

Alex: ASU  Isaac: ASU   Corey: ASU   Franklin: Utah   RyanASU

Colorado (3-5, 0-5) at Washington (5-3, 2-3) 5 p.m., Pac-12 Network (Comcast 420)

The Washington Huskies appear to have stopped the bleeding after three straight losses to Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State with last weekend’s win over Cal. Not that a win over Cal really says much at all. While it wouldn’t be nice to cal the Bu

X-factor: Keith Price vs. CU Secondary Depth. Colorado HB Michael Adkins and DB Kenneth Crawley have missed practice this week and early on it was unclear whether they would be able to play Saturday. They returned late Tuesday, but how much will that drama affect an already questionable Buffalo defense? Knowing Sankey will get his yards (look for him to outgain Byron Marshall’s 122 by a distance), Price and the receivers should take advantage of the second level.

Alex: Washington  Isaac: Washington   Corey: Washington   Franklin: Washington   RyanWashington

No. 19 UCLA (6-2, 3-2) at Arizona (6-2, 3-2) 7 p.m., ESPN (Comcast 35)

Besides Oregon at Stanford, this game is clearly the matchup of the week for the conference. Both UCLA and Arizona are a game behind ASU in the South and a loss will more than likely spoil any chances of competing in the Pac-12 title game, baring complete anarchy. Both of these teams have backloaded schedules. UCLA faces Washington, ASU and USC following this game while Arizona has games against Washington State, Oregon and ASU. Neither team can afford to lose again.

X-factor: Ka’Deem Carey vs. Anthony Barr. Can anyone stop Carey? If anyone, it’ll probably be Barr, one of the country’s best defensive players. In a battle between an unstoppable force and an immovable object, the immovable object that happens to wear the same colors as Brett Hundley will have an advantage. The Arizona rushing game is something else this year, but it likely won’t be enough against UCLA’s cabal of linebackers led by fearsome Anthony. But if they have a chance it all goes through Carey.

Alex: UCLA  Isaac: UCLA   Corey: UCLA   Franklin: UCLA   RyanArizona

Note: David Saez is no longer with EDN and no longer participating in our weekly Pac-12 Pick’em. EDN is sad to see such a good writer go, but wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.

Ducks Women’s Basketball: Oregon Dispatches Oregon Tech with Ease, 116-51

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Oregon made some appearances Monday night — in front of a sparse, second-exhibition crowd — that Paul Westhead‘s system could work this year. Sure, it was against NAIA Oregon Tech and the competition will soon get much more stringent, but the offense clicked and the defense forced errors. The team still has a lot to prove, but they said a lot with a 116-51 exhibition win.

“Another exhibition, tried to get some of the kinks out,” Westhead said. “We had reasonable success, we have a good bit of work to do. … If we can get (offensive rebounding) into their blood, we’ll be fine.”

Chrishae Rowe
Oregon freshman Chrishae Rowe dribbles down the court past defenders in a preseason win | (Eric Evans/GoDucks)

Oregon enjoyed a 62-24 advantage for the intermission, as the Ducks were excellent early at both hitting threes and preventing the Hustlin’ Owls from distance buckets. Oregon was 8/20 from deep in the first half and held Tech to an 0/10 clip — which ended up 0-for-24.

Chrishae Rowe again led the Ducks with a silly offensive first half — knocking in 9 of her 14 field goals (2 of 3 from deep) and collecting 4 offensive rebounds to pair with her 20 points. Rowe finished with 35.

“She has a good sense of her game,” Westhead said. “She’s going to eventually be a crowd-pleaser, I can see it coming.”

To say that the freshman might be a go-to option for Oregon this fall is likely going to be an understatement. The game might as well have been a backdrop as Rowe’s performance stood out on a larger stage, hitting from deep and banging around for rebounds from both sides of the floor.

“I tend to do whatever I have to to make my team successful,” Rowe said.

Following her in scoring were teammates Katelyn Loper (26), Jillian Alleyne (15) and fellow freshman Drea Toler (16).

Both Rowe (14 rebounds) and Alleyne (11) put up double-doubles as well. Alleyne added three blocks in another gritty defensive effort.

In addition to keeping the Owls without a three-point connection in 24 attempts, the Ducks also restricted Tech to just 14 makes on 77 total attempts. The 46-18 advantage in FG percentage favoring Oregon told the tale the best in this one.

Ariel Thomas didn’t bunch up stats in any category, but finished with 6 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals. Westhead praised her hustle after the game.

“We need a whole bunch of Ariel Thomases,” he said. “She might be our best offensive rebounder, she’s fearless and she goes for it. She sacrifices her body on every possession.”

The coach called Thomas the best player on his team, and sees returner-to-the-roster Laura Stanulis’ return as creating a good problem to have — a glut of good point guards.

Oregon starts its regular season with a home opener against Cal State Bakersfield this Saturday at 7 p.m. The Ducks’ first road game is in Hartford, Conn., against the top-ranked Connecticut Huskies on Nov. 20.

Recapping the Pac-12 in Week Ten

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Here at EDN, we give you a weekly rundown of what happened in the Pac-12 Conference the past weekend, highlighting the big moments that made it another exciting set of games.

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss (Again. Sorry.)

It’s my piece of advice to the Pac-12 teams who lost this week. You all had chances to win, you all had moments of glory, but now, you wake up Sunday morning and realize that it’s all gone. And now, those teams have a hard road toward another win. For Cal, Colorado and Wazzu, that means missing out on a bowl game after a strong nonconference. For Oregon State that means falling backwards into the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

But there’s still a lot of season left for those four teams. So don’t cry because that first part of the season is over, be happy that — it seems like — significant rebuilding is happening in your programs.

Thursday

Arizona State LogoArizona State Sun Devils 55, Washington State Cougars 21

Taylor Kelly is in midseason form, and he let the Cougars know it throughout the first half. It’ll take a thorough assault to defeat this Mike Leach-led team, and an assault is what Kelly gave them — scoring twice on the ground early and tossing four TDs before halftime. Down 42-7, Wazzu scored twice to pull within a manageable 21-point deficit, but D.J. Foster collected his second touchdown dart from Kelly to put the Cougs away. The ASU defense kept WSU on their own half for all but two of the remaining plays, punching the Sun Devils a ticket to bowl season.

Friday

USC_Trojan+Logo1USC Trojans 31, Oregon State Beavers 14

USC went out and got a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter, looking much like the Trojans of old as Marqise Lee went yard on a pass from Cody Kessler. Within a minute in the second quarter, the tides started to turn as Ryan Murphy returned a Kessler interception to the house to tie the game at 14. However, the USC defense and run game worked the Beavers after this point and took a 21-14 halftime advantage to a 31-14 final.

Saturday

arizona logo Arizona Wildcats 33, Cal Golden Bears 28

It wasn’t as easy as a win over the floundering Bears probably should have been, but after the 8:19 mark in the first quarter, B.J. Denker made sure the Wildcats never trailed. Denker scored four times — thrice on the ground — and outperformed his Cal counterpart through the air to lead Arizona to a bowl-clinching win. Said counterpart found Kenny Lawler three times towards the end, each time to pull within 5, but nation-leading running back Ka’Deem Carey’s 152 rushing yards were enough to keep Arizona just out of reach.

The Cal safety and the 53-yard Arizona field goal helped a bit too.

ucla_logoNo. 20 UCLA Bruins 45, Colorado Buffalos 23

Colorado led twice, 3-0 and 10-7, making it appear that UCLA’s Stanford-and-Oregon hangover would continue punishing. But Brett Hundley’s three first-half touchdowns meant UCLA would never again trail, and two unanswered third-quarter touchdowns for UCLA put the Buffs away. Devin Fuller’s three touchdowns were excellent, but Hundley led all rushers in addition to only throwing five incompletions and the sophomore QB scored four times. This is a better Colorado team, you can sense it in the fight that they continue to bring every week, but it’s still not good enough to keep a very good UCLA team from clinching a bowl game.

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Ducks Basketball Survives Exhibition Scare vs Point Loma

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Whatever it was, Oregon didn’t get off on the right foot against an opponent that should never have been a challenge. And thus, it was a challenge when the Ducks trailed the Sea Lions at halftime 37-35, and Oregon had to use much of the second half to close out a 68-52 victory.

“We played terrible,” senior guard Johnathan Loyd said. “Coach bit us a little bit in the locker room. The first half they shot 56 percent from the field, so our defense just wasn’t there.”

Waverly Austin
Oregon’s Waverly Austin drives to the lane | (Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)

Point Loma nailed five three-pointers in the first half and went into the locker rooms with a highly unexpected lead. Meanwhile, Oregon was shooting 35 percent before the intermission.

But center Waverly Austin turned it on around halftime and finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and a pair of blocks. Joseph Young led the Ducks in scoring, with 21. Jason Calliste had a couple of three-pointers of his own, finishing with 8, and post players Elgin Cook and Richard Amardi both finished with 6.

Oregon was missing the talents of Damyean Dotson, Mike Moser and Jalil Abdul-Bassit to minor injuries. Dotson and Moser both started last week vs. Northwest Christian, so their absences were very key to Oregon’s struggles.

Oregon Ducks Basketball vs Point Loma
Ducks and Sea Lions scrap for a loose ball | (Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)

The Ducks aren’t going to blame the injuries for the scare, though.

“Stuff happens during the season,” Loyd said. “People get hurt, people can’t play. You’ve got to run with what you’ve got. We’re all D-I basketball players, we all can play the game. We’ve got to step up.”

Loyd finished with 3 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.

The Ducks take to the air this week as their true season opener is against Georgetown in Camp Humphreys, South Korea this Friday.

“We’ve got a long way to go to get ready for next Friday,” said head coach Dana Altman. “We didn’t run the floor consistently and in the first half our defense didn’t have a lot of communication. I thought we did a much better job in the second half.”

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2013 Pac-12 Pick’em: Week Ten

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Pac-12 football is back and we at EDN Sports will do a weekly Pac-12 Pick’em. Each week we’ll give you our picks and track how we’ve done so far.

Season Pick’em Standings:

  • Alex Shoemaker: 53-11 (5-0 last week)
  • Ryan Beltram: 50-14 (5-0)
  • Isaac Rosenthal: 50-14 (4-1)
  • Corey Buchanan: 49-15 (4-1)
  • Franklin Bains: 48-16 (4-1)
  • David Saez: 47-17 (3-2)

Thursday

Arizona State (5-2, 3-1) at Washington State (4-4, 2-3) 7:30 p.m. (ESPN 35)

Both teams have a lot riding on this game. With a win the Sun Devils maintain ts one-game lead over Pac-12 South foe UCLA. For the Cougars, a win moves them closer to bowl eligibility – needing six wins to reach that mark. ASU has dominated this series of late, winners of eight of the last nine. But this Cougs offense might just have enough fire power to keep it close.

X-factorConnor Halliday. Halliday and Mike Leach can start to breath deeply. After taking a 24-17 lead against Oregon State, the Cougs saw the full power of the Beaver State’s secondaries and threw 7 interceptions over the course of the next 5 quarters. Now they get a Thursday date with the Sun Devils and can put some distance between themselves and Steven Nelson, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Terrance Mitchell. That’s not to say that Halliday can’t throw picks to the Sun Devil defense, just that it’s not as likely as it would be against the Beavs and Ducks (first and second, respectively, in the conference in interceptions).

Alex: Arizona State  Isaac: Arizona State   Corey: Arizona State   Franklin: Washington State   David: Arizona State   RyanArizona State

Friday

USC (5-3, 2-2) at Oregon State (6-2, 4-1) 6 p.m. (ESPN2 36)

Friday’s showdown between the Trojans and Beavs is the best game of the week in the Pac-12 by most analysts. Oregon State looks to bounce back from a hard-fought loss to No. 5 Stanford on Saturday, while USC is 2-1 since the firing of then head coach Lane Kiffin and only a four-point loss away from being undefeated in that stretch. While neither one of these teams is out of the running for a conference title, it’d take a great stretch of luck in November. A win on Friday is a must.

X-factorOSU O-Line vs. USC D Front. Oregon State’s offensive line hasn’t exactly impressed through nine weeks. The holes haven’t been there for Storm Woods and so while the rushing game has gone away, the passing game has flourished. That’s not to say, however, that Sean Mannion hasn’t been running for his life at times. He has been. And USC has the athletes throughout the forest of its front 7 to get in Mannion’s head. For OSU to win, they’ll need their own forest to step up and protect.

Alex: USC  Isaac: Oregon State   Corey: Oregon State   Franklin: Oregon State   DavidOregon State   RyanOregon State

Saturday

Arizona (5-2, 2-2) at California (1-7, 0-5) 12:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Network 420)

The Golden Bears and Arizona Wildcats have had one of the most competitive matchups in the league for years. At 14-14-2 all-time and 2-2 over the past four meetings, it wouldn’t be crazy to expect a close game. However, this may be the worst Cal team in a decade while the Wildcats are winners of their last two games and have an outside shot of winning the Pac-12 South. This could be close early, but Rich Rodrigues’ high powered running attack should tear apart the Bears’ defense.

X-factorB.J. Denker. The senior QB has the same amount of rushing and passing TDs (8) this year, and is starting to come into his own as the Wildcats field general. Against the Cal rushing defense though, his job early will be just to hand off to the conference’s best RB in Ka’Deem Carey. If the conference’s worst team by a margin makes a push for its first FBS win this season though, Denker has the ability to tuck and run and will use it.

Alex: Arizona  Isaac: Arizona   Corey: Arizona   Franklin: Arizona   DavidArizona   RyanArizona

Colorado (3-4, 0-4) at No. 20 UCLA (5-2, 2-2) 4:30 (Fox Sports 1 408)

On paper, the top-25 Bruins should have every advantage against a still rebuilding Buffaloes squad still looking for its fist conference win. However, with the Bruins looking to keep up energy after two loses to Stanford and Oregon its hard to say just what mindset the team will be in. This has textbook upset alert written all over it.

X-factorBrett Hundley. The last two weeks haven’t exactly been kind to the sophomore quarterback. Stanford (219) and then Oregon (136) held him to his lowest total yardage output of his career. Before the Stanford game, he had never been held to less than 250 yards in a game, and in 10 of 19 career games, he recorded over 300 yards. Colorado has nothing to lose this week, but they also don’t have the athletes to compete with UCLA’s skill position players.

Alex: UCLA  Isaac: UCLA   Corey: UCLA   Franklin: UCLA   DavidUCLA   RyanUCLA

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