Matt Knight Arena

Oregon Ducks Continue to Honor Frohnmayer in NCAA Tournament

A simple, black ”DF” patch was added to the Oregon Ducks men’s basketball jerseys throughout the Pac-12 tournament, honoring the late Dave Frohnmayer. The patch is a small, solemn mark of recognition, giving thanks to the celebrated former president of the University of Oregon,...

Acrobatics and Tumbling: The Dynasty Continues

We all know about the rise to elite status of the Oregon football team. But have you ever heard of acrobatics and tumbling? If not, prepare to be impressed.   Last year, I was working on a project and one...

Oregon Basketball Future Still Bright After Big Win at ASU

The Oregon men’s basketball team has had its ups and downs this season. But the Ducks’ stock overall is on the rise. Following a blow out loss to Arizona, Oregon responded with a tough victory over Arizona State, an overtime thriller...

Ducks Victorious in OT Thriller

Sports Reporter Jordan Ingram for FishDuck.com from Mat Knight Arena in Eugene, Oregon. Eugene, Ore. — Dwayne Benjamin saved the Ducks from a loss at home with a clutch 3-pointer with 7.6 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game against UC...

Joseph Young Makes Wooden Award Preseason Top 50

Oregon’s leading scorer and senior standout, Joseph Young, was named to the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list on Monday. Young is the Pac-12’s top returning scorer, amassing 643 points last year as a...

Oregon women’s basketball uses strong defensive effort to beat Oregon Tech in final exhibition game

The Oregon women’s basketball team used a barrage of three-point field goals and an impressive defensive performance to defeat Oregon Tech 116-51 in the final exhibition game of the season before regular season play begins against CSU Bakersfield on Saturday.

The Ducks shot 43 percent from beyond the arc (16 of 37 shooting). This would have broken the Oregon single-game record of 15 had it happened in a regular season game. The Ducks also pressed hard against the visiting Hustlin’ Owls, forcing 32 turnovers that led to 35 points off those turnovers. The Ducks also shot 47 percent from the field and 64 percent from the free-throw line.

“It was another exhibition,” head coach Paul Westhead said. “We tried to get some of the kinks out and some understanding on how we want to do some things. We had reasonable success, but we have a good bit of work to do.”

Freshman Chrishae Rowe (35 points, 15 rebounds) and sophomore Jillian Alleyne (15, 11) both recorded double-doubles for the Ducks. Alleyne also led the squad with three blocks.

Rowe and fellow freshman Drea Toler continued to impress Westhead in exhibition play.

“She (Rowe) has a good sense for the game,” Westhead said. ”Big difference. The little kid is speedy. She keeps amazing me. She is going to eventually be a crowd-pleaser, I can see it coming.”

Rowe said that the team should continue to find ways to grow, but she’s happy with the progress thus far.

“I personally think we want to run more and cut down on the turnovers and try to knock down shots more consistently,” Rowe said. “But we are headed in the right direction and I’m feeling good about the season.”

Westhead also praised senior Ariel Thomas’ (6 points, 6 rebounds) performance in the game.

“Stats are deceptive when you look at Ariel Thomas,” Westhead said. “She played her heart out. She’s a tough kid. We need a whole bunch of Ariel Thomas’s. Hopefully it becomes contagious. Right now, Ariel Thomas, ounce-for-ounce, or minute-for-minute might be my best player.”

Westhead said Thomas might be the team’s best offensive rebounder, as well.

“She’s fearless and she goes for it,” Westhead said. “You have to be aggressive to be a rebounder. She sacrifices her body every possession.”

Westhead’s squad was not afraid to push the tempo, either, and it showed in their fast-break advantage. They outscored the Hustlin’ Owls 53-8 in fast break points.

Even though the Ducks secured 68 total rebounds, Westhead was not satisfied with the rebounding production.

“I wasn’t really happy with our overall rebounding effort,” Westhead said. “We could’ve done a better job on defensive boards.”

Katelyn Loper paced the Ducks with eight three-pointers, and she said that she has to continue to be persistent and confident as a shooter in the Pac-12.

“A lot of it comes from my teammates,” Loper said. “As a shooter, you have to keep your confidence even when they’re not falling. Without them (the team), I wouldn’t make the shots that I do.”

Westhead is excited for the return of sophomore Lexi Petersen after she missed all but one game last season due to an ACL injury.

“She’s the real deal, folks,” Westhead said. “She would’ve been our best player next year, head and shoulders. She will be welcome to come back.”

On the horizon: The Ducks open regular season play this Saturday, Nov. 9 against CSU Bakersfield at 7 p.m. at Matthew Knight Arena.

Follow Jonathan Hawthorne on Twitter @Jon_Hawthorne

Mathew Knight Arena is awarded certification for being green

The University of Oregon’s 400,000-square-foot Matthew Knight Arena is home to a variety of award-winning athletic programs. However, recently, it has received recognition for a much different feat: becoming the Eugene-located UO’s first LEED gold certified building.

“Matthew Knight Arena is a building that was designed with the certification in mind, and it was important to everyone” said Mike Duncan, the senior associate for athletic department operations and events. “Their goal was to bring a lot of notary to the building for the university and the town of Eugene.”

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and awards buildings on their environmentally-friendly construction and operations. The LEED award was granted by the U.S. Green Buildings Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute. Both organizations certify programs related to green buildings and award buildings for their superior awareness of the environment.

“Winning the LEED Gold certification is fantastic evidence of the University of Oregon’s commitment to sustainability,” said Steve Mital, the UO’s sustainability director. ” We now have a new policy on file that all new constructions will be built to be Gold certified or better.”

Many buildings at the UO have been awarded LEED Silver certification, such as the Lillis Business Complex and the Ford Alumni Center. However, Matthew Knight Arena is the first UO building to be awarded Gold certification, joining the White Stag Block located at UO Portland. Matthew Knight Arena was awarded Gold certification for their superior efficiency in both electrical and water efficiency, as well as their use of recycled and regional materials.

With this most recent award among the UO’s long list of sustainability accolades, the state of Oregon’s flagship university takes yet another step toward becoming the nation’s foremost environmentally-friendly campus.

Photos: Oregon Volleyball — No. 8 Ducks roll past No. 26 Beavers 3-0

Oregon Ducks volleyball started Pac-12 play off with a 3 – 0 victory over the Oregon State Beavers in what was the 97th Civil War matchup between the two. The Ducks attacked the Beavers with balanced scoring across the board, with four players recording double-digit kills.  Meanwhile junior setter Lauren Plum (4) finished with 48 […]

Ranking Oregon’s Four Major Sports Venues

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Jay Swanson, EDN Sports

For a town of just over 150,000 people, Eugene is fortunate to be home to four of the best college sporting venues in the nation.  Hayward Field, Autzen Stadium, Matt Knight Arena, and PK Park all offer something unique to those attending their games.

Here is one fan’s ranking of the four, from 4th to 1st.

 

#4 – PK Park, baseball

PK Park - Photo Credit: Alex Shoemaker

Look, if PK Park is coming in 4th in the rankings of the U of O sports stadiums, then that tells you a little something about the quality of these venues.

Let’s be clear – this is one of the largest and most impressive college baseball stadiums in the nation.

Built in 2009 to coincide with the resurrection of the University’s baseball program (then subsequently completed the following year), it is top notch in terms of seating capacity, sight lines, backdrop, and overall aesthetics.  It feels much more like a Triple A stadium than a college one, and certainly helped bring Ducks baseball back with a bang.

My main critique of the field is with its cookie-cutter outfield fence (no “yellow monster”, triple ally, or short porch?) and with the turf field around all of the bases. Maybe I’m old school, but when you slide in baseball, your uniform should get dirty.  Period. Having the turf field instead of grass definitely makes sense for soggy Eugene conditions, but putting dirt around the base paths and home plate would have been a smart move.

 

#3 – Matt Knight Arena, basketball/volleyball

Matt Knight Arena - Photo Credit: Chris Anderson - Stadium Journey

I’m all for uniqueness when it comes to a basketball stadium (the parquet floor of the Boston Garden, the floating court of Stanford’s Maples Pavilion), but the trees encroaching into the court on Matt Knight Arena are over the top.

Ok, so that’s not the only feature of this sparkling new building, but it is one of the first and most lasting impressions left on fans.  In trying for a unique “branding” of the home court, Oregon went too far.

What did they do right?  The steeply banked seating, especially in the upper deck, means that even the top rows are not that far from the action, and allows for a more intimate feel than the 12,500 seat capacity would seem to indicate – perfect for basketball. The outside of the stadium is beautiful and instantly recognizable.

Inside, the spacious concourse allows fans to easily find their section, bathroom, or concession stand without feeling like a herd of cattle.  So besides the paint on the floor, what’s not to like?  I guess I’ll always be partial to good old Mac Court, with its creaking floors, cramped seats, pillars blocking views, and ancient amenities.

It was far from luxurious, but the student section was right on the court, and it was imposing for visiting teams.  Mac Court was a classic venue.  Maybe in time Matt Knight arena can become something of the same.

 

#2 – Hayward Field, track & field

Hayward Field - 2011 Prefontaine Classic

Oregon’s reputation as “Track Town USA” owes as much to the iconic Hayward Field itself as any of the legendary runners who have laced up shoes and run on it.

Two towering grandstands on the backstretch and homestretch allow Eugene’s knowledgeable fans to exhort their favorites to dig down for that final kick for the tape, and some of the personal bests boasted here can attest to that inspiration.

The views from the stadium again are beautiful, and the track and field are kept in pristine condition.  There’s a reason Hayward Field has played host to the past two Olympic trials, and the 93-year-old legend shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

 

#1 – Autzen Stadium, football

Autzen Stadium - Photo Credit: Gary Herman - Stadium Journey

“It never rains at Autzen Stadium.”  This traditional welcome from Ducks announcer Don Essig may not be technically true, but figuratively it is an accurate way to describe the fan experience at an Oregon football game in the fall.

Known for being one of the loudest stadiums in the country, Autzen provides a true home field advantage for the Ducks.  The stadium has the capacity to accommodate plenty of loud and raucous revelers (up to 59,000 including standing room seating) without having any “nosebleed” seats that are too far from the action.

The turf field is state of the art, arranged in Autzen’s familiar alternating light and dark green stripes, with views of the city of Eugene and surrounding hills serving as a perfect backdrop.  One of the best ways to get to the stadium is by the walking trail that begins at campus and crosses the Willamette River.

Emerging from the woods, Autzen is revealed in imposing glory, with the giant “O” welcoming spectators to its gates.  There is no better place to be on a fall Saturday than at a college football game.  And as a sports fan, there is no better stadium to be in than Autzen.

Stadium Journey, a website devoted to reviewing, critiquing and evaluating professional and college stadiums, places Oregon’s athletic facilities near the top in nearly every one. Oregon fans have four great stadiums.

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Prep Hoops Roundup 3-11-12: State Tournament Edition

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Sean Larson, EDN Sports

The Corvallis Spartans clinched their second straight OSAA 5A state championship in Eugene Saturday night after defeating Milwaukie 63-51.

The Spartans jumped out to an 8-1 lead thanks to some hot shooting and tough defense, holding Milwaukie without a field goal for the first four minutes of the opening quarter. Corvallis held a comfortable seven point lead going into the second.

The Corvallis Spartans celebrate their second consecutive OSAA 5A state championship on Saturday night at Matthew Knight Arena. (Photo Credit: Sean Larson)

Corvallis continued to shoot well in the second, building a 14 point lead with 2:44 remaining in the half. Milwaukie would try and cut into the lead, but the Spartans would hold a 10 point lead going into the half.

Milwaukie would heat up in the third quarter, going on a 10-0 run to cut the lead to just two, but Corvallis would extend their lead to 10 once again by the end of the quarter, never looking back to hold on for the win.

“I thought our kids showed a lot of poise and played as a team in the second half,” said Corvallis head coach Greg Garrison.

Henry Parker and Jake Ehlers of Corvallis would drive the team, scoring 19 points each.

The Spartans finish their season with a 24-4 record while Milwaukie finishes with at 24-5.

The Benson Techmen from Portland took third place in the OSAA 5A state tournament with a 51-41 win over Wilsonville Saturday afternoon at Matthew Knight Arena. Benson was able to redeem their poor shooting performance from Friday night’s loss to Corvallis when they shot 26.1% from the field.

“If they were selling baskets last night, we couldn’t have bought them because we were broke,” said Benson head coach Troy Berry.

For the first half, the game went back and forth with both teams shooting well. Benson held a six point lead halfway through the third quarter, but back-to back turnovers from Benson allowed Wilsonville to cut the lead to two with three minutes to go in the quarter.

Benson poses with their trophy after defeating Wilsonville 51-41 Saturday afternoon at Matthew Knight Arena. (Photo Credit: Sean Larson)

The turning point came early in the fourth quarter when Franklin Norman of Benson drove to the rim and sunk a layup while drawing the foul with 6:54 remaining in the game. He converted the free throw to give Benson a seven-point lead.

Benson’s Jordan Ewell threw down the first dunk of the tournament with just over three minutes to go in the game, giving Benson not just a nine point lead, but the spark they would need to close out a tough battle.

“It was true guts and grit,” said Berry. “We stuck to our game plan.”

Benson finishes the season 25-3, while Wilsonville finishes 24-5.

The local Churchill Lancers had a tournament they would soon like to forget. In their quarterfinal matchup against Wilsonville, the Lancers shot 34.9% from the field, and 27.3% from beyond the arc as they fell to the Wildcats 48-40.

“They locked us down and forced us into shooting difficult shots,” said Churchill head coach Kelly Bokn.

In the consolation semifinals, Churchill would lose again, this time falling to Mountain View 56-50.

Mountain View’s tough 2-3 zone forced Churchill to shoot from deep early on. Seven of the Lancers’ 13 attempted shots in the first quarter were from three-point range.

Churchill’s shooting would go cold in the second quarter as they were outscored 14-2. By the end of the first half, Churchill was shooting 29.2% from the field, and just 16.7% from beyond the arc.

In the five minutes of the half, the only point came from a free throw from Mountain View’s Blake Bosch.

The second half would be a back and forth battle, but clutch free throw shooting from Mountain View would seal the game as they would go on to clinch fourth place in the tournament.

No tournament recap would be complete without touching on what was by far the strangest game of the three day event.

In the girls tournament, the state championship matchup was one of the most bizarre games in tournament history when Springfield defeated Willamette 16-7 in the lowest scoring game in tournament history. 

The Springfield Millers celebrate their second consecutive 5A state championship on Saturday night in Eugene after defeating Willamette 17-6. (Photo Credit: Sean Larson)

The reason behind this low score was Willamette head coach Lance Haas’s strategy of taking the ball away from Springfield’s star center Mercedes Russell. He did this by telling his point guard, Brittany Glassow, to dribble past half court and just stay put. The first possession came with 1:20 left in the first quarter after Springfield went into a trap defense, forcing a turnover.

The second quarter was even more bizarre when Glassow dribbled past half court to start the quarter and stayed there for nearly the entire quarter, passing the ball only twice. There would not be a possession change until a turnover from Glassow gave Springfield the ball with six seconds left. A bank shot at the buzzer from Mercedes Russell would give Springfield a 4-0 lead at the half.

In the second half, Willamette halted their unconventional strategy and started to move the ball around. However, they turned down multiple open shots, and even their own students started to yell at them to shoot the ball. When they did shoot, they weren’t falling.

“If we had just hit two or three of those threes I would have looked like a genius,” said Willamette head coach Lance Haas.

Haas said that the unusual game plan was put together in about 30 or 45 minutes just this morning.

“It came from Mercedes (Russell) dropping 32 and 31 (points) on us the last two times we played,” said Haas. “We wanted to limit her touches.”

The win gave Springfield their second consecutive 5A state championship. The Millers finished the season 26-3 while Willamette finishes at 25-3.

This marks the end of “Prep Roundup’s” coverage of basketball, with the transition to baseball next week. Look for more coverage of local high school sports here at Eugene Daily News.