Death. Taxes. Dana Altman teams peaking in March.
Since losing two-straight games in early 2021, the Oregon Ducks (18-5, 13-4) have won nine of ten games, including Wednesday evening against UCLA (17-7, 13-5) 82-74, to control its destiny in the Pac-12 with just one regular-season game to go.
Chris Duarte showed why he's the Pac-12 Player of the Year, scoring 23 points on 7-12 from the floor while playing 35 minutes. Will Richardson played all 40 minutes at point guard scoring 15 points on 6-8 from the field. Joining them in double figures was LJ Figueroa (18 points, 8-11 from the field), and Eugene Omoruyi (15 points, 6-11 from the floor).
Oregon shot a season-high 61% from the floor and 70% in the second half, good for an 132.4 offensive rating in the second half.
Defeating Oregon State on Sunday will clinch the second-consecutive regular-season Pac-12 Championship for Oregon and a one-seed in the Pac-12 Tournament next week. Oregon also won the last Pac-12 Tournament in 2019 en route to the Sweet 16.
During Wednesday's victory, Oregon overcame a nine-point deficit with 11:17 remaining to defeat a Bruins team who also controlled its destiny for the regular-season Pac-12 Championship. Oregon went on a 15-2 run to take a 66-62 lead with 5:38 remaining.
Oregon used full-court pressure to trap UCLA in the backcourt, causing the Bruins to have no more timeouts left with 4:18 remaining in the contest. UCLA ended up with 15 turnovers, good for 21.5% of its possessions.
If Oregon can complete the Pac-12 regular-season title defense, it'll be the first time the program has done so since 2015-16 and 2016-17. The second of those seasons, Oregon went to the Final Four.