There wasn’t a fan in orange and black without a smile after Oregon State beat rival Oregon, 72-57, in front of a sold out, frenzied 9,301 crowd and improved to second in the Pac-12 Conference.
Following the Beavers’ first Civil War sweep since the 2009-10 season, OSU players hooted in the locker room and fifth year coach Wayne Tinkle walked down the hallway of Gill Coliseum high-fiving everyone in sight.
There was no high fives on other side of hallway as the Ducks (15-10) fell to 6-6 in conference play.
Oregon coach Dana Altman and redshirt senior Paul White spoke to the media with heads bowed, laying out all the reasons why the Ducks’ didn’t find success. To name a few; committing 18 turnovers, allowing OSU(16-8, 8-4 Pac-12) to shoot 49 percent and a 9-0 run to open the second half.
In a game where long scoring droughts plagued the Ducks, White pointed to his team’s concentration and motivation.
“We lost this game because we lost focus,” White, who finished with 12 points and five rebounds, said. “First half we did a good job. The second half we gave them too many easy baskets and it bit us in the butt."
The loss was freshman Louis King’s first, and possibly last, game in Corvallis. King finished 5-of-7 from beyond the arc, with 20 points and added a team-high eight rebounds.
Oregon desperately needed more production from junior Payton Pritchard and sophomore Kenny Wooten. Coming off of back-to-back 20 point games, against the Beavers, Pritchard shot just four times and scored only four points.
“We didn’t get him enough shots and that’s my fault," Altman said of UO’s point guard. "We need to get him more shots. He’s got to shoot the ball more than four times, and that’s my fault. That’s poor coaching."
Wooten, who battled an illness this week, was a non-factor, scoring four points with two rebounds and zero blocks.
Time is running low for the Ducks and so are their chances at making the NCAA Tournament. Oregon has yet to find a formula to win on the road and four of its final six games are away games, starting on Thursday at USC.
The loss hurt Oregon’s standings in the Pac-12, pushing the Ducks further away from securing a top four spot, which provides a first-round bye in the conference tournament.
Like White, Altman also attributes Oregon’s inconsistency to its motivation. "I think we are talented enough (to win the Pac-12 Tournament) but we need to be much more disciplined," Altman said.
The more focused team won the Civil War series, but Oregon’s next six games and beyond are still up for grabs.