Oregon Ducks

Oregon State Beavers to host College World Series Regionals

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OSUBeavers.com

Oregon State Beavers to host College World Series Regionals

CORVALLIS - The Oregon State Beavers threw a watch party to find out who was coming to Corvallis for the NCAA Regional Baseball Tournament. It was not exactly a wild bash... The Defending National Champions found out the day before that they were going to host one of the 16 Regional sites for the 64-team tourney. So all they were waiting for was to see who will head to Goss Stadium for the double-elimination round.

The Beavers ended up as the 16-seed in the field of 64 and just got that final slot to host. Oregon State, was one of three Pac-12 teams to host a Regional. UCLA and Stanford also will host this upcoming weekend. The winner of the Corvallis Regional will face the winner of the Los Angeles Regional.  UCLA is the #1 seed in the Tournament and will host LMU, Omaha and Baylor in Los Angeles. The winner of that bracket will face the Corvallis Regional Champion in the Super Regional. 

The Beavers face the Cincinnati Bearcats Friday night at 7pm. The Beavers are hosting a regional for the eighth time since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64-teams in 1999. The Bearcats are making their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 1974. Former Ohio State Football Coach Urban Meyer has a connection to the Cincinnati baseball program. His son Nate Meyer is on the team and made a nice catch for the final out when Cincinnati beat UConn 22-5 to clinch the AAC title. See the full schedule here. 

Creighton and Michigan are the #2 and #3 seeds in the Corvallis Regional. They will face each other in Friday's first game at 1pm at Goss Stadium. Creighton played in a Corvallis regional in 2011 and the Beavers beat them 5-1. That is the only time the two schools have met in baseball. This season the Blue Jays won the Big East title for the first time.

Michigan and the Beavers played for the last time in the 2007 Corvallis Super Regional. Oregon State won both games 1-0 and 8-2 to head to Omaha and of course to the CWS title that year. The Wolverines head to Goss Stadium with a 41-18 record and 16-7 in Big-10 play.

Beaver baseball coach Pat Bailey is very proud of his baseball team and his pitching staff. The Beavers are ranked second in the nation with a team ERA of 2.98 just behind UCLA. He also says he has a lot of homework to do this week on the three teams heading to the Corvallis regional.

The players are pumped to be playing the first games of the tournament at home and know they will have a target on their backs since they are the defending National Champions. Senior right-handed pitcher Bryce Fehmel is pumped for a chance to repeat.

Infielder Andy Armstrong has a championship ring from last year's trip to Omaha and can't wait for Friday night!

The Pac-12 has five teams in the 64-team field but that is chicken feed compared to the SEC. A record-tying 10 SEC teams made the field. There was some respect for the Pac-12 however. The Beavers, Cardinal and Bruins are all #1 seeds of course since they are hosting. Cal and Arizona State are #2 seeds in their respective regionals. Cal in the Arkansas regional and ASU is heading to LSU. 

If history is an indication, the Beavers have a great shot to get out of the Corvallis Regional. They went a perfect 3-0 to win home regionals in 2005, 2006, 2011, 2013, 2017 and 2018.

All session tickets go on sale Thursday at 2pm. 

Did Payton Pritchard just lock up the Pac-12 Player of the Year award?

Did Payton Pritchard just lock up the Pac-12 Player of the Year award?

Payton Pritchard is on another level this season.

The Portland-native from West Linn High School is averaging 20.1 points 5.5 assists and 4.4 rebounds in his senior season for the Ducks.

On Saturday against the Arizona Wildcats, Pritchard carried the Ducks in regulation dropping a new career-high 38 points in Tucson. He shot 12-for-27 from the field, 6-for-14 from 3-PT range, a perfect 8-for-8 from the FT line as well as dishing out six assists and grabbing four rebounds.

It was a miraculous performance.

But it begged the question: did this performance lock Pritchard in for the Pac-12 Player of the Year award?

Many on social media think so...

Another name in Pac-12 POY contention is Arizona State's Remy Martin, who is averaging 17.9 points, 4.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds this season for the first place Sun Devils. 

The conference awards are released before the Pac-12 Tournament. 

Instant Analysis: Payton Pritchard drops new career-high in OT win vs. Arizona

Instant Analysis: Payton Pritchard drops new career-high in OT win vs. Arizona

It is a tight race at the top of the Pac-12 standings with four teams tied for first and the Oregon Ducks just half a game out of first. Coming off a loss at Arizona State on Thursday night, the Ducks were going to need every bit of offense and a valiant effort on defense against the Arizona Wildcats in Tucson on Saturday.

Well, the offense was there, but only from Payton Pritchard, who dropped a new career-high 38 points. 

Arizona’s Josh Green missed two free throws with five seconds left and this game was headed for overtime (the second time this season these two teams needed overtime to determine a winner).

In overtime, all nine points came from Shakur Juiston. That took immense pressure off of Pritchard on the offensive end. An offensive rebound from Will Richardson and drive to his left drew two Arizona players leaving Juiston open under the basket for a layup that put Oregon up by one with 1.4 seconds left. Game over.

No. 14 Oregon (21-7, 10-5 Pac-12) survives in OT over No. 24 Arizona (19-8, 9-5 Pac-12) and moves into a tie for second in the Pac-12 conference standings with UCLA and No. 18 Colorado.

FINAL SCORE (OT): Oregon 73, Arizona 72 

Here are three quick takeaways from the game:

1. BIG TIME PRITCHARD

Payton Pritchard opened up the game with a three-pointer, and then scored the next four points for Oregon. He scored 10 of Oregon’s first 13 points.

“It’s like having Steph Curry on your team,” said Bill Walton on the call.

Well, maybe not exactly but Pritchard was feeling it tonight. He pored in a new career high 38 points hitting 12-of-27 from the field and 6-of-14 from 3-PT range.

He scored just under half of Oregon’s total points.

Pritchard is averaging 19.4 points, 5.6 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game in his senior season.

2. ANTHONY MATHIS

Head coach Dana Altman has a big weapon in Anthony Mathis coming off the bench. Mathis has the ability to hit the outside shot and when he does, feed him the ball. Against Arizona, he and Pritchard kept Oregon in the game early hitting 3-of-5 from 3-PT range in the first half and finished with 11 points.

Mathis Pritchard were the only two Ducks to finish in double figures in regulation time. 

3. OVERTIME JUISTON

Redshirt senior Shakur Juiston just needed an overtime period to get it going on the offensive end. Before overtime, he recorded just five points, but score all of Oregon’s points in overtime (9) and finished with 14.

Arizona went 10-for-21 from the free throw line, including missing two late in regulation and missing two with one second left in overtime.

UP NEXT: It’s Civil War part two against rival Oregon State (15-12, 5-10 Pac-12) on Thursday, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. (PT) at Matthew Knight Arena.

Instant Analysis: Oregon State inches away from upsetting Arizona State in Tempe

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USATI

Instant Analysis: Oregon State inches away from upsetting Arizona State in Tempe

It was the Tinkle and Thompson show down in the desert. Tres Tinkle and Ethan Thompson combined for 45 of Oregon State’s 73 points. This one came down to the wire with Oregon State having the ball, down one point and one opportunity to pull off what would be an incredible upset. 

The ball found freshman Jarod Lucas in the corner for a three-point shot, but it was barely off target.

FINAL SCORE: Oregon State 73, Arizona State 74

Here are three quick takeaways from the game:

1. SMALL BALL

Early in the game, head coach Wayne Tinkle made a change to go more small ball, and it paid off. Down by eight early, the Beavs bounced back the rest of the first half with a smaller lineup on the court to counter the speed of Arizona State. Tinkle gave more minutes to freshman Gianni Hunt and sophomore Antoine Vernon.

Junior Zach Reichle and freshman Jarod Lucas each picked up two quick fouls early in the game.

By going small, that made room for Tres Tinkle at the four spot and taking advantage of a smaller opponent on him. Tinkle finished with 25 points going 8-for-16 from the field, most of his damage coming on the interior or on the free throw line.

Turnovers continue to be an issue for the Beavs on the road, committing 10 in the first 14 minutes and finishing with 15 as a team.

2. MOMENTUM INTO HALFTIME

The Beavs finished the first half with back-to-back steals on back-to-back possessions, forced ASU deep in the shot clock for a bad shot, Tres Tinkle hitting four free throws, a 9-0 run over two minutes and a 40-37 lead going into halftime. 

The question was could the Beavs keep this momentum into the second half? (See #3).

3. FINISH FINISH FINISH

Oregon State was down 72-67 with just over two minutes left in the game. How would Wayne Tinkle and his squad respond to the situation and hostile environment?

Jarod Lucas hit a three-pointer from the top of the key to bring this to a one point game, 74-73 ASU lead. Gianni Hunt played excellent defense on ASU’s Alonzo Verge Jr., and the Beavers got the ball back with 21.7 seconds left and down one point. Thompson worked the ball to Tinkle at the top of the key, he drove left drawing in two defenders and found Lucas across court. Lucas barely missed the shot and the clock expired.

A valiant effort that needs to carry over for the remaining three conference games left on the schedule.

UP NEXT: It’s Civil War chapter two, this time in Eugene, Oregon vs. the Ducks (20-7, 9-5) on Thursday, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. (PT) in Matthew Knight Arena.

Oregon football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball a perfect home record for full calendar year

Oregon football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball a perfect home record for full calendar year

Eugene, Oregon. A place that is quiet, surrounded by lush trees and roaring rivers, where you can find weird donuts and plenty of lumber.

It's also a place where opposing teams come to lose.

Autzen Stadium, home of Oregon football, is one of the loudest if not THE loudest stadium in the Pac-12 featuring sold out after sold out crowds. The stadium seats 54,000 which doesn’t include staying room tickets sold.

The last time Oregon football lost at home was vs. Stanford on September 22, 2018 (38-31 in OT).

Across the river is Matthew Knight Arena, home to Oregon men’s and women’s basketball. The arena seats 12,364. 

The last time Oregon men’s basketball lost at home was vs. Washington in Pac-12 conference play on January 24, 2019 (61-56).

The last time Oregon women’s basketball lost at home was exactly one year ago to UCLA on February 22 (74-69).

These three programs are a combined 39-0 in the past calendar year.

Home court/field advantage is for real and especially in Eugene.

Oregon fans love their Ducks!

Jusuf Nurkic awarded H&P medallion, return near?

Jusuf Nurkic awarded H&P medallion, return near?

We are all eagerly waiting to see The Bosnian Beast Jusuf Nurkic back on the court in uniform.

Nurkic suffered a season-ending left ankle injury last season, which required surgery and has been rehabbing since. 

Last month, Nurkic returned to full-contact practice, but suffered a mild right calf strain. He has been held out of practice since then, but Nurkic continues to inch closer to his return.  

When will that time be? That is the question, we hope, will be answered soon.

On Saturday, Nurk gave us a little tease:

The Blazers Health and Performance staff hands out an “H&P award” to the player who excels most in the training room, and Nurkic earned the honor — that large gold necklace.

The two people who are tagged in the video are Ben Kenyon and Todd Forcier, both sports performance specialists with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Not only is Nurk sporting that huge gold medallion around his neck, but the video looks frozen or rather "loading."

Could that mean his return is near?

Hopefully.

The Trail Blazers (25-32) currently stand in ninth in the Western Conference and 3.5 games out of that eight seed. Up next, the Blazers host the Detroit Pistons (19-39) on Sunday, Feb. 23, at 6 p.m. (PT). Converage starts at 4 p.m. (PT) on NBC Sports Northwest.

It was 40 years ago, and it still stands as sports' biggest miracle

It was 40 years ago, and it still stands as sports' biggest miracle

It was 40 years ago today and I don’t remember an awful lot of that day. Many of the facts have escaped me over the years.

What I remember most, though, is the emotion I felt just sitting on the living room sofa watching the USA’s 4-3 win over the Soviet hockey team in the 1980 Winter Olympics. In fact, I still get goosebumps while watching highlights of that game and listening to the great Al Michaels belt out his iconic “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” as the clock drained to :00.

It was unlike anything else I can remember in sports -- an event that lifted an entire country amidst the cold war, the Iran hostage crisis and President Jimmy Carter’s announcement that our country would boycott that year’s Summer Olympics.

And it was an upset of epic proportions, an incredible feat for the underdog American team. Consider:

  • This was prior to “Dream Team” stuff, when pros could participate in the Games. So that left the USA team with mostly college players -- average age 22 -- against the much-older, veteran Soviet team that had won four straight Olympic golds with the same cast of what were actually professional players.

  • Just three days before the Games began in Lake Placid, N.Y., the Soviets clobbered the US team 10-3 in Madison Square Garden and nobody was even surprised by the score. The gap between those teams was considered that large.

But the Americans were coached by enigmatic Herb Brooks, a tough taskmaster who had a plan to beat the Soviets with a disciplined passing attack, intense conditioning and the kind of rough checking the European teams weren’t accustomed to facing.

Brooks’ team got through the preliminary round with four wins and a tie and advanced to the medal round against the top-seeded Soviets.

And to be fair, the U.S. team was dominated through most of the game, getting outshot 39-16 and trailed by a goal heading into the final period. But Jim Craig was terrific in goal and made sensational save after sensational save.

The USA team took the lead with 10 minutes to go and held on for the win, to set up Michaels for the greatest call of his wonderful career. That wasn’t the gold-medal game, of course. The American team bounced back two days later to defeat Finland 4-2 to capture the gold.

Brooks quickly retired to the bowels of the arena as his players celebrated on the ice. His plan had worked and a nation celebrated what was as close to a sports miracle as I’ve ever seen.

If you get a chance, watch the movie “Miracle” with Kurt Russell playing Brooks and you can pick up on the emotion of it all.

And if you've ever played on a team that was an underdog or felt like one in life, listen to the “It’s your time!” pep talk he gives his players prior to that fateful game.

And it was their time. Forever.

Stephen Curry praises Sabrina Ionescu's passion: "It’s in her eyes"

Stephen Curry praises Sabrina Ionescu's passion: "It’s in her eyes"

The No. 4 Oregon Ducks picked up a dominant win over Cal in the Bay Area Friday night.

Among those in attendance to see the Ducks 93-61 win and to witness Sabrina Ionescu's 25th triple-double was Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry. 

With him were his daughters Riley and Ryan. 

After the game, Ionescu and the Curry's greeted each other. 

In an interview with the Pac-12 Network, Curry says he's known about the Walnut Creek native since her junior year in high school. 

The two have connected before, with Ionescu showing up to the Moda Center during the Trail Blazers playoff run in a Curry jersey. 

"Shoutout to the walking triple dub," Curry wrote on social media. 

They are fans of each other and their respective games. 

"Every night, she just appreciates being out on the floor and bringing it," Curry told the Pac-12 Network. "It’s how she makes her teammates better. It’s the little things like that. Triple doubles are nice, too, but she just has it all." 

When you see her on the floor, stats may mean a lot but when you watch somebody and the passion that she brings. It’s in her eyes and the competitive nature that she had, you can’t teach that. -- Stephen Curry

Sabrina could accomplish a feat no other college basketball player has accomplished: 2K points, 1K rebounds and 1K assists by this weekend.

She's just nine rebounds away. 

Curry made sure to take time with the whole team afterwards, too, posing for photos. 

Curry's daughters have gotten a lot of exposure to basketball in their lives, so far. But, will they be nudged to play?

"I don’t know if they will play basketball or not," Curry said. 

"But if they do, I’ll put on some Sabrina Ionescu clips and be like, ‘this is how you play the game’."

Shorthanded Trail Blazers find their playoff hopes precariously balanced

Shorthanded Trail Blazers find their playoff hopes precariously balanced

The beers and sodas balancing on Katy Stevens’ tray rocked back and forth, feigning for a moment that they might stay upright before toppling onto the court.

 

Stevens, a longtime server at the Moda Center, had nearly avoided trouble when referee Mitchell Ervin stepped toward her as she served drinks to courtside fans during the second quarter of Friday’s game. But the second step backward from Ervin ended in a mess as he bumped into the massive tray of drinks Stevens was holding and the beverages came crashing down.

 

The Trail Blazers playoffs hopes are stuck in a similar precarious balancing act, and Friday’s loss to the New Orleans Pelicans pushed them closer towards a familiar calamitous ending. 

 

Playing in their first game without Damian Lillard, who is likely to miss at least a couple more nights as he recovers from a strained groin, the Blazers trailed the New Orleans Pelicans from the opening tip. They fell behind by as many as 22 points, alternating between giving up buckets inside to rookie phenom Zion Williamson or allowing his Pelicans teammates to cash in on open shots on the perimeter.

 

“Our defense still needs to get better,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said, understating his team’s most glaringly obvious shortcoming.


Portland has the worst defense in the Western Conference, and any hopes of a playoff berth starts with a stronger defensive effort. The Blazers are good enough to score on most nights, but simply haven’t shown an ability to stop teams with any consitency. 

 

Some of the excuses are obvious. Lillard on Friday joined the ranks of Blazers not in uniform, donning a sport coat on the bench next to Zach Collins, Mario Hezonja, Jusuf Nurkic and Rodney Hood on the Blazer well-dressed but unavailable squad.

 

However, with 25 games left in the season, the excuses matter less than the results. The Blazers fancied themselves a title contender in the preseason six months ago. They have recalibrated that to playoff hopeful as they enter the stretch run of the season. But surrendering 128 points and allowing a team to shoot 54 percent from the floor in your own building is not part of any postseason formula.

 

“I don’t know, it’s not just one thing,” Blazers center Hassan Whiteside said when asked about the team’s defense. “I think it’s a team effort. It’s not just one specific thing that I could just tell you that would make us a better defensive team.”

 

The Blazers are short on answers. They’re short on healthy bodies. And they’re short on games left on schedule. The loss to New Orleans dropped the Blazers into a tie with the San Antonio Spurs for ninth place in the West, still three games behind eighth place Memphis for the final playoff spot. The Pelicans are lurking just a half game back in 11th.

 

The Blazers’ playoff hopes are hanging in the balance. There’s still time for them to steady the rocking, find their footing and avoid a spill. But more missteps and it all comes crashing down in a hurry, and they’ll be left with an offseason to try to sop up the mess.

 

CJ McCollum worried about stops, not buckets

CJ McCollum worried about stops, not buckets

It was a vision of what could have been: A glaring sight during Friday’s home contest against the New Orleans Pelicans.  

Smack dab in the middle of Portland’s bench sat Zach Collins, Mario Hezonja, Jusuf Nurkic, and Damian Lillard – all in suits, not suited up. 

Just out of view, sat Rodney Hood, who was watching from the second row of the bench wearing a boot on his left foot. 

Thinking about what this season could’ve been with a healthy Nurkic, Collins and Hood is something many have thought about over the past few weeks, but now, adding Lillard to the injured list, and his status is still relatively unknown, the Blazers looked to CJ McCollum Friday night. 

McCollum had no problem taking over the starting point guard duties. He can get his teammates involved when asked to do so, and he has every bit of confidence in running the team. 

It was just that the Pelicans were knocking down threes from all over the perimeter and in transition. 

New Orleans defeated Portland 128-115, but that wasn’t without a fight from McCollum and the Blazers.  

Stepping into his new role for the foreseeable future, McCollum was particularly active in finding the open man, especially early on. He had seven assists in the first quarter.

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts was pleased with how the 28-year-old shooting guard managed the game. 

“I thought CJ had a very good game. In the offense he picked his moments to try and score, obviously double-digit assists, I thought he played the game the way it’s supposed to be played,” Coach Stotts said postgame. 

With confidence in his voice, McCollum echoed a similar message in the locker room, but he would like to take better care of the ball from here on out. 

McCollum led all scores with 27 points on 10-of-22 shooting, to go along with tying his career high in assists with 10. 

Portland as a team shot 45.7 percent for the game. 

That’s not the problem and McCollum knows it. 

“I did a decent job. I had like five turnovers –too many turnovers, but outside of that, I thought offensively wasn’t the problem. Defensively was the bigger problem. We figure out ways to score, we always have, we’ve just got to tighten up at the other end.”

I think we competed, but I think just some lapses defensively. We fouled a lot in the first half. I think they shot like 28, 29 free throws in the first half which is too many easy points, so we’ve got to tighten that up but overall, I thought we competed. Just didn’t play well enough defensively to win. -- Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum 

New Orleans shot an efficient 53.6 percent from the field, including an impressive 52.9 percent from behind the arc

With Lillard expecting to miss three to five games with a right groin strain, it’s not just putting a strain on McCollum, even though his teammates are recognizing that it is McCollum who will have to overcome the most.

As the season has progressed, so has Lillard and Hassan Whiteside’s pick and roll action. 

McCollum had a good connection with the Blazers starting center early on Friday night, but those two will need to continue to develop a good two-man game with Lillard out. 

Whiteside finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds, good for his 42nd double-double of the season. 

The Blazers 7-footer mentioned after the loss that a lot of the play calling now falls on McCollum, even though coach Stotts said pregame that he would help in facilitating some of the plays more with Lillard out. 

“I know it’s going to be tougher for everybody,” Whiteside said when talking about not having Lillard for the next handful of games. “It’s going to be tougher for me, it’s going to be tougher for CJ because we’ve been playing a lot through [Lillard] and he makes a lot of decisions out there, but like I said, we’ve got to come out here and keep competing. We’ve got the first one under our belt, let’s move on to Detroit and get a win there. That’s a must win.”

Keep competing along with running opponents off the three-point line and getting back in transition to limit easy fast break buckets -- those are just a few of the Blazers’ action items while their five-time All-Star is sidelined. 

And with that, the 19-39 Detroit Pistons might be just what the doctor ordered for Portland.