Dana Altman

This time, the defense did not travel. That's a wrap for the Ducks' 2017-2018 season

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This time, the defense did not travel. That's a wrap for the Ducks' 2017-2018 season

How Oregon lost: The 2017-2018 season is in the books. The defense did not travel on the road at No. 2 Marquette today. Golden Eagles senior guard Andrew Rowsey could not miss. The 1.75 foot extension of the NIT three-point line proved no different for the fourth ranked NCAA three-point shooting team at .415% as Rowsey finished with 29 points hitting 6-of-11 from behind the arc. No. 3 Oregon ends its season with a 101-92 loss at Marquette in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.   

The tempo was set high from tipoff. Marquette controlled the tempo forcing 13 total Oregon turnovers and capitalizing with 30 points off those turnovers and 36 fast-break points.

Of the first 15 points for the Golden Eagles, 13 of which came off of fast-break opportunities. Marquette hit seven of its first 11 from three-point range and jumped out to a 30-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Ducks had no defensive response for Rowsey, who got off any three-point shot he wanted or forced Oregon to fall for his shot-fake and draw the foul for three free throws. 

Oregon quickly fell into a 20-point hole and Marquette kept its foot on the gas until the final buzzard. 

The offensive production was there today for Oregon, shooting 54% from the field, but defensively, the Ducks could not find an answer for the Golden Eagles’ fast-paced tempo and hot shooting.

What it means: Although the 2017-2018 season may not have been the finish that the players, staff, and fans had hoped for, the Ducks finished with a 23-win season including a 10-win conference record in the eight season under head coach Dana Altman.

The last time the Ducks were in the NIT tournament, the following year’s team went to the NCAA Sweet 16 in March Madness. With a top incoming recruiting class, the future still looks bright in Eugene. Only four seniors graduating, including two starters, and a young team that saw valuable minutes throughout the entire season will be interesting to follow next season and where they end up.

High-flying Ducks: The Oregon big men got it done on the inside for the Ducks. Lead by redshirt senior MiKyle McIntosh’s 25 points, shot 15-of-18 from the free throw line. Junior transfer Paul White finished with 19 points and four rebounds. Sophomore guard Payton Pritchard, who came out strong with seven quick points, had the rest of his offensive production come late finishing with 16 points. Freshman Victor Bailey Jr., had another nice game once again off the bench finishing with 11 points, most of which this time coming from inside the three-point line.

Foul play: White finished with four fouls and McIntosh, freshmen Kenny Wooten and Troy Brown finished with three fouls.

Oregon is Victor-(BaileyJr)-ious in round 1 of NIT

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Oregon is Victor-(BaileyJr)-ious in round 1 of NIT

How Oregon won: The Ducks picked up right where they left off in Las Vegas last weekend for the Pac-12 tournament: slow start, better middle, even better ending. In the first round of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), the No. 3 Ducks hosted the No. 6 Rider Broncs at Matthew Knight Arena, in front of a mere 2,327 Oregon fans. The shooting struggles continued from the Pac-12 tournament into the first quarter, that is until Oregon freshman Victor Bailey Jr., checked in off the bench. Bailey hit seven three-pointers and co-lead Oregon to a first-round NIT victory 99-86 over Rider.

“I know the guys were disappointed, I was disappointed, at halftime,” said Oregon coach Dana Altman. “We were beat in every category. Second chance points, bad turnovers, easy baskets. You know our energy level was just really bad. No communication defensively. It was not a good have and we were probably fortunate to only be down eight, as poorly as we played.”

Oregon shot just 33.3% on 5-of-15 from the field in the first quarter and trailed Rider 21-15. Add that to nine first-half turnovers (dribbling off foot, bad passes, stepping out of bounds) and the Ducks were the definition of “rocky start”.

Altman continued, “Second half, we didn’t get off to a real good start, but once we started clicking, and got a few shots down, the energy level went way up. VJ (Bailey Jr.) really likes to play when the ball is going in. He did a really nice job shooting the ball and giving us some energy…”

Bailey Jr., finished co-leading the Ducks with 23 points off the bench shooting 7-of-8 from behind the “new” NIT three-point line (extend an extra foot and eight inches).

What it means: The Ducks survived and advance to the next round of the NIT and awaits the winner of No. 2 Marquette vs. No. 7 Harvard.

Last weekend where the Ducks relied on senior leadership from MiKyle McIntosh and Elijah Brown during the Pac-12 tournament, tonight it was the underclassmen. Freshmen Bailey Jr., and Kenny Wooten got it done on both ends of the court. Shot-blocking phenom Wooten added three more blocks to his season stats tonight. Although Rider did outscore the Ducks in the paint 50-34, Wooten still managed to make his presence known. A number of those Rider points came in the first half with mis-communication in Oregon’s zone and getting the ball behind the big men down low.

Wooten recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

High-flying Ducks: With Bailey Jr., feeling it from downtown, that cause the Rider defense to push out to guard the perimeter leaving driving lanes more open for sophomore guard Payton Pritchard and freshman guard Troy Brown. Pritchard also finished with 23 points and added eight assists. Brown recorded eight points and seven rebounds. Elijah Brown had a quiet 18 points hitting 3-of-6 from three-point range.

Foul play: Troy Brown and McIntosh each finished with four fouls. Junior Paul White finished with three fouls.

Up next: The Ducks await the winner of No. 2 Marquette vs. No. 7 Harvard tomorrow night. Home court advantage is based on seeding, so if Marquette wins, Oregon will travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. If Harvard wins, Oregon will host the next round of the NIT.

Big Dance hopes on the line for Oregon vs. USC in Pac-12 semifinal game

Big Dance hopes on the line for Oregon vs. USC in Pac-12 semifinal game

Pac-12 Semifinal: #6 Oregon (22-11, 10-8) vs. #2 USC (25-7, 12-6)


It’s been a dramatic journey for Oregon to reach the Pac-12 tournament semifinal game.

The Ducks trailed by as many as 11 points to Utah in the second half of the quarterfinal game, but a late rally and some last-minute heroics from MiKyle McIntosh and a game saving block from Kenny Wooten sealed the 68-66 victory over No.3 seed Utah

Oregon will face No. 2 seed USC at 8:30 p.m., Friday night. USC has topped Oregon in close victories in the schools’ two meetings so far this season.

On Jan. 18, the Trojans beat Oregon, 75-70, in Eugene and then earned a 72-70 victory over the Ducks at the Galen Center on Feb. 15.

USC’s Jordan McLaughlin has been a handful for Oregon this season. He had a near triple-double in the first meeting with 11 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists. In the second game, he had a double-double with 11 points and 11 assists.

USC had a first game bye and then held Oregon State to 31 percent shooting in a 61-48 victory to reach the semifinal game. Chimezie Metu had 22 points and 11 rebounds and two blocks in the Trojans victory over the Beavers.

Oregon has played eight straight games that have been decided by single digits, including three that went to overtime.  

Will the comeback Ducks strike again? Oregon is in a position where they likely need to win the Pac-12 Tournament to get to the NCAA Tournament.

The Trojans have the resume of a bubble team, another win would be a significant boost to their tournament resume.

Storm. The. Court. Oregon completes the upset over No. 14 Arizona

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Storm. The. Court. Oregon completes the upset over No. 14 Arizona

How Oregon won: In a whirlwind of events that are springing from the Arizona Wildcats basketball program, the Oregon Ducks had to remain focused at the task at hand: pulling off an upset win over the No. 14 Wildcats in front of a sellout crown of 12,364 screaming Ducks' fans. It was going to be a battle from start to finish, and even then some. And this game did not disappoint. Lots at stake for Oregon: including a desperation win to give the Ducks a glimpse of hope of getting into the Madness that is March in the NCAA; completing the weekend sweep of the Arizona schools; and sending Oregon's seniors off on a winning note in their last game at Matthew Knight Arena. All was accomplished and all was right in the world of Eugene, OR. Lead by senior guard Elijah Brown's 30 points, the Oregon Ducks (19-10, 9-7 Pac-12) pull off the upset over No. 14 Arizona (22-7, 12-4 Pac-12) 98-93 in overtime. 

Let's not forget about one DeAndre Ayton, the Wildcats' freshman phenom and potential top future NBA draft pick. A matchup nightmare, that was at first assigned to Oregon's Paul White. But Ayton's size was too much for White to handle and the Ducks readjusted to putting more bodies and more weight surrounding Ayton. 

Oregon coach Dana Altman said, "We weren't ready for the physicality of the game. The big fellas [Ayton, Ristic], both of them just beat us up inside. At halftime, it was 14 to 6 in second chance points and we ended up winning the second chance points 22 to 19. So drastic turnaround that second half. And the points off turnovers was obviously a big difference: 20 to 4."

What it means: That is the big storyline in this game: turnovers and capitalizing on those turnovers. The Ducks took care of the ball, made smart decisions, and only committed a season-low four turnovers. On the other side of the ball, the Wildcats turned the ball over 17 times and the Ducks made them pay for it with 20 points off those turnovers. Swift ball movement and finding the hot hand of Elijah Brown made all the difference. But it wasn't all Brown. 3 of the 17 Arizona turnovers came from the quick hands and high defensive energy from Ducks freshman Abu Kigab, who Altman has strategically placed at the front of their full court press. 

"When I get out there, I'm always going to play with energy," said Kigab. "You know, play for my teammates, that is the most important thing... just go out there and play my hardest and give it all for my teammates every single day."

It was the seniors, on senior night, that put on a show in front of their home-town fans. Elijah Brown shot just 3-for-11 from beyond the arc, found his rhythm driving to the hoop and pulling up just inside the three-point line. His counterpart, senior MiKyle McIntosh, put up 20 points, five rebounds and four steals.

While the offense was rolling, the defense, especially on Ayton in the final minutes of the game, was locked in. The Oregon defense, which sometimes triple-teamed Ayton down low forcing the ball out of his hands, shut Ayton down completely in the final 12 mintues of the game holding him scoreless. He did still finished with 28 points though. But tough defense down the stretch and into overtime showed resilience from this Oregon Ducks squad.

High flying Ducks: All five starters finished in double digits: Brown and McIntosh combinding for 50 points. Redshirt junior Paul White finishing with 16 points hitting 4-of-6 from three-point range. Sophomore guard Payton Pritchard with 13 points, eight assists, and only one turnover. Freshman Troy Brown Jr., finishing with 11 points.  

Foul play: McIntosh, White, and freshman Kenny Wooten each finished with four fouls, with McIntosh picking up an additional technical foul.

Up next: Oregon will hit the road north to face Washington State (11-17, 3-13 Pac-12) at 6 PM (PT) this Thursday in Pullman, WA.

Lock down second half defense seals the deal for Oregon

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Lock down second half defense seals the deal for Oregon

How Oregon won: Coming into tonight's game vs. Arizona State, Oregon coach Dana Altman said that they are, "still playing with that confidence, that edge on them...". The hot, spot-up shooting Sun Devils weren't prepared to meet the 23 degree weather and the Oregon Ducks cold front that shut them down. The Ducks played lock-down defense, both on the perimeter and on the inside holding ASU to 28.6% from the field and 25% from three-point range in the second half. Oregon (18-10, 8-7 Pac-12) defeats Arizona State (19-8, 7-8 Pac-12) 75-68 at Matthew Knight Arena in this Pac-12 After Dark showdown.

Altman said following the game, "Our formula for this team hasn't changed much. You know if we out-rebound people and hold them under 70, our success rate has been pretty high. So I thought out defensive transition was good. All the stats: points in the paint, points off turnovers, 2nd chance points, fast break points, we won in all categories. They hit some three's and we didn't, probably the difference."

Pritchard had a solid game on both sides of the ball. Understanding that Arizona State likes to push the ball quickly and will on occasion spot up for a three-pointer in what seems like no time at all, Pritchard stuck like a glove to Sun Devils guard Remy Martin. On the flip side, Pritchard recorded six assitst and zero turnovers, a stat Altman really likes to see.

Pritchard said, "I think defensively, we got hands on balls. Kenny [Wooten] was in there deflecting and blocking shots. We just didn't give them any easy ones, that lead to us getting easy layups in transition and getting stops."

Freshman Kenny Wooten seems to play different under the lights at Matthew Knight Arena. He recorded four more  blocks tonight, where at the Los Angeles schools, Wooten did not record any.

What it means: It was the upper-classmen tonight for Oregon that really stepped up. Leading the way for Oregon was redshirt senior guard Elijah Brown with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field. Brown has typically been a spot up three-point shooter for the Ducks this season, but found his shot moreso tonight inside the arc. 

Brown said, "I was just trying to shoot my shot like I shoot in the gym when I'm by myself and I was just really focused and it was a big game for us so I tried to do what I could to help us win."

"A lot of my career I find myself just settling outside the three-point line, and the more I'm able to mix my game up, the more the three will open up. So, it's never too late. We still got some season left. I feel like I figured that out a little bit tonight." 

The Ducks find themselves in the middle of the Pac with just three games left. Earlier in the week, Elijah Brown said that the team, "can still make noise". Oregon will finish the season with one more home game vs. Arizona this Saturday, and one more road trip north next weekend to face Washington and Washington State. It was also reported today that Wildcats star senior Allonzo Trier will be not playing due to "testing positive for a banned substance" by the NCAA, which should make things a little more interesting coming down the stretch in the Pac-12. 

High flying Ducks: Alongside Brown, redhsirt senior MiKyle McIntosh finished with 16 points and five rebounds, redshirt junior Paul White finished with 11 points and six rebounds, and Pritchard finished with nine points. Freshman Troy Brown also added nine points.

Foul play: Troy Brown finished with four fouls and McIntosh and freshman Victor Bailey Jr., recorded three fouls a piece.

Up next: The Ducks will host the No. 14 Arizona Wildcats (22-6, 12-3 Pac-12) in their final home game and on senior night at 7:15 PM (PT) this Saturday at Matthew Knight Arena.

Oregon gets critical win as Pac-12 leaderboard is heating up

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Oregon gets critical win as Pac-12 leaderboard is heating up

How Oregon won: A night of "first's" for sophomore guard Payton Pritchard. A first career double-double, a first collegiate dunk, and all in fron of a former teammate... Pritchard, the Ducks' sole returning starter from last year's Final Four team, came ready to put on a show for former Duck and now Golden State Warriors Jordan Bell. Pritchard leads Oregon (17-8, 7-5 Pac-12) with 19 points and 10 assists past the Washington State Cougars (9-15, 1-11 Pac-12) 84-57 at Matthew Knight Arena.

Oregon coach Dana Altman said, "He had eight assists the other night, he had 10 tonight, I thought his ball movement was good, shot it solid. With him and Troy [Brown], giving us some ball handling, 13 assists between them, I thought that was a big key. You know, making plays for other guys. Payton didn't get quite as many deflections tonight as he had the other night, I didn't think his activity defensively was quite as good, but I thought he moved the ball well and I thought he was looking for guys and really made some good plays."

What it means: The sweep is complete. The Oregon Ducks got two critical home wins against both the Huskies and the Cougars over the weekend and now sit in fourth place (with a conference record of 7-5) in the Pac-12 conference behind Arizona (10-3), UCLA (8-5) and USC (8-5). These two wins were important because going into the final six games of the season, the Ducks are on the road twice, with the Los Angeles schools coming up next. A tough stretch of games down the road and a team that is perrhaps starting to scratch the surface of its identity, these Ducks will be put to the test in each of the remaining six conference games left.

Altman said, "We are going to have to play our tails off. We are going have to have a couple really good road trips... It gives us an opportunity because the five teams they're talking about getting into the NCAA tournament, we got each one of them one time. So, we are going to have our shot. If we are tough enough and together enough to take advantage of it."

"We are making strides and going into L.A. we are going to really have to be to be together," said Pritchard. "We need to win both... All the teams are on a race, so obviously this next trip to L.A. will define our destiny in the Pac-12 race. We're going to need them."

High flying Ducks: The freshmen sentations and dynamic duo (and also roommates) of Kenny Wooten and Troy Brown Jr., continue to dominate on both sides of the court. For one, teams are starting to scout Wooten under the hoop and with his shot-blocking ability and length, by changing up their game plans, Pritchard has stated after the Washington game last Thursday night where Wooten recorded seven blocks. Wooten added three more blocks tonight and finished with 10 points and eight rebounds. On the other side, Brown Jr.'s offensive skill is really coming to live as of lately and finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds tonight vs. the Cougars. The third roommate of this duo is freshman Victor Bailey Jr., who has been a spark off the bench for Altman and the Ducks. He finished with 13 points. Senior Mikyle McIntosh also finished with 13 points on 4-of-6 from the field.

Foul play: Redshirt junior Paul White finished with four fouls.

Up next: The Ducks hit the road to face USC (17-9, 8-5 Pac-12) at 6 PM (PT) this Thursday in Los Angeles.

OREGON BLOWN OUT, AWAY BY STANFORD

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OREGON BLOWN OUT, AWAY BY STANFORD

How Oregon lost: The Cardinal set up camp, made a fire, roasted marshmallows, and absolutely owned the interior against the Ducks. 42 points in the paint compared to the Ducks’ 28. Oregon was out-rebounded by 15 boards and just couldn’t find the right combination to slow down the freight train that is Stanford’s big man: redshirt junior forward Reid Travis who finished with 17 points and seven rebounds. Oregon (15-8, 5-5 Pac-12) gets routed by Stanford (13-11, 7-4 Pac-12) 96-61 in Palo Alto, California.

Oregon, the Pac-12 leaders in perimeter defense, allowed Stanford to shoot 60% from three-point range going 12-for-20 and 63% from the field. It had no answer for Cardinal senior Dorian Pickens who finished with 25 points on 9-of-11 shooting and 5-for-6 from three-point range.

What it means: Despite getting routed by 35 points, the Ducks did show two signs of life. Redshirt junior Paul White got the starting nod today replacing freshman Kenny Wooten and made the most of it getting off a quick seven points. However, White only played 16 total minutes and was quiet in the second half and Wooten just 18 minutes. 

Oregon’s half court press, with a smaller unit, also caused some trouble for the Cardinal and forced three turnovers which turned into quick points. Oregon went on an 8-0 run with this smaller lineup at the helm, lead by the freshmen Victor Bailey Jr. and Troy Brown up front.

An interesting stat to look at in this game was minutes played. No Ducks player played over 29 minutes. Head coach Dana Altman mixed it up quite frequently trying to find the right combination to not just slow down Stanford’s efficient offense, but to also find scorers and offensive production. It also could have been Oregon’s foul trouble that cause Altman to look to his bench. 

High flying Ducks: Playing with four fouls, freshman Troy Brown didn’t let that slow him down. Brown finished as Oregon’s leading scorer with 15 points and six rebounds. Off the bench once again was the Ducks’ spark plug Bailey Jr., finishing with 13 points. Elijah Brown and White each finished with 10 points.

Foul play: Sophomore guard Payton Pritchard, and each committed two fouls in the opening 10 minutes of the first half. Troy Brown picked up his fourth foul early in the second half but still played 24 minutes.

Up next: Oregon returns home to host the Washington Huskies (16-6, 6-3 Pac-12) at 7 PM (PT) this Thursday at Matthew Knight Arena.

Oregon flying in right direction with Civil War victory

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Oregon flying in right direction with Civil War victory

How Oregon won: A near brilliant first half from the young, energetic Ducks in front of a sellout crowd at Matthew Knight Arena on this 350th Civil War night. What started on the defensive end, denying passing lanes, grabbing clutch rebounds, eliminating Oregon State offensive rebounds, turned into a fast-paced yet calm, cool, and collected offensive performance. Lead by senior guard Elijah Brown’s 20 points, 18 in the first half alone, the Ducks went into halftime up 41-25 shooting 65% from the field. 

The second half was a bit different story. Oregon took its foot off the gas for a moment, and Oregon State started to claw its way back as 12,000+ Oregon fans had that “not again” look upon their faces. Not another blown lead.

Although just shooting 6-of-24 from the field in the second half, Oregon (14-7, 4-4 Pac-12) rode its lead and defeated in-state rival Oregon State (11-9, 3-5 Pac-12) 66-57 in the Civil War at Matthew Knight Arena.

Oregon coach Dana Altman said, “The biggest difference was our activity defensively, we had 17 deflections and that turned into 17 points off their turnovers. Second half we had six deflections and only two points off those turnovers. We got real stagnant offensively and some bad turnovers…”

“The defense and the rebounding were better than they were three weeks ago,” said Altman.

The Ducks learned from their mistakes the last time they faced the Beavers in Corvallis on January, 5th, 2018. In that game, Beavers’ Drew Eubanks and Tres Tinkle stole the show. Tonight, the two combined for 15 points. Every time Eubanks touched the ball down low, he was immediately met by two Ducks. Oregon turned up its ball pressure on Tinkle making it hard for him to create space and get open. 

What it means: The Ducks now sit at 4-4, .500 in the Pac-12 and will finish their last 6-of-10 games on the road. 

Last week, it was Victor Bailey Jr. The week before, Payton Pritchard. Different guys are stepping up in different times. 

“That’s what good teams do,” said Pritchard. “Last year’s team it was like that… last year we had five games and five different leading scorers. For this team to be successful, we can’t just have one guy just taking all the shots. It needs to be a team thing and you know that’s what makes good teams.”

High flying Ducks: With Brown leading the charge and drawing defenders closer to him, that left more lanes open for others to exploit. Pritchard was one of those who noticed and took advantage of it. Pritchard finished with seven points and seven assists. Redshirt junior Paul White finished with 17 points off the bench.

Foul play: White finished with four fouls. Pritchard and senior Mikyle McIntosh each finished with three fouls.

Up next: The Ducks go on the road to face the California Golden Bears (7-14, 1-7 Pac-12) at 6 PM (PT) this Thursday in Berkeley, CA.

The one that ALMOST got away...Ducks edge Bruins

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The one that ALMOST got away...Ducks edge Bruins

How Oregon won: A win is a win no matter how ugly. The Oregon Ducks got it done tonight. But it didn't come easy and at times, fearful. Oregon had the lead up by 18 points early in the second half. Slowly but surely, the UCLA Bruins began to chip away. Could this happen once again? Would it be the third game in a row where the Ducks have a lead coming down the stretch and gave it away? It was beginning to feel like deja vu for the staff, players, and 12,364 fans at Matthew Knight Arena. With just under five minutes remaining, UCLA went on a 10-0 run to bring the score to 88-87, Oregon lead, 1:09 to go. UCLA calls a timeout with :12 seconds to go, Oregon coach Dana Altman gathers his team and decides to foul the Bruins so they would have to earn their points and the Ducks can regain control of the tempo Risky that it may be, but a risk that paid off. The Ducks (13-7, 3-4 Pac-12) rode their three point lead off perfect 4-of-4 free throw shooting from sophomore guard Payton Pritchard to a 94-91 win over UCLA (13-7, 4-4 Pac-12) in Matthew Knight Arena.

"They [UCLA] were shooting it so well from three," said Altman. "They had so many guys out there that can hit three's. It wasn't like we could shift our defense to one guy. You go right down their roster, the guys they had in there were all shooters. So I just felt like it was our best chance hoping we could get the ball to Payton or Elijah [Brown] who are extremely good free throw shooters and just felt this was the best way for us to finish it out."

What it means: Oregon started this game probably the best so far this season and entered halftime up 52-38. Three Oregon players scored in double figures in just the first half: Pritchard with 10 points, senior Miklye McIntosh with 12 points, and freshman Victor Bailey Jr., coming off the bench and creating some energy, shot 5-of-6 from the field scoring 15 points. If the Ducks can figure out how to start every game like that, with high intensive defensive pressure and swift offensive ball movement, and somehow carry that momentum over into the second half, maybe just maybe they can develop a comfortable lead and keep it to the end.

McIntosh said, "We understood the last four minutes of the last few games were not our best. But we understood that if we trust in our abilities and trust our coaches and understand that we can go out there and just play and not really worry about things, then we'll get the job done. As ugly as it may be, a win is a win. As long as we go out there and play hard and try not to make too many mistakes, then we'll be fine."

Two battles were additionally won tonight: the Ducks scored 18 second chance points, which shows hustle and offensively crashing boards. And 19 assists with only eight turnovers, demonstrating the improving ball movement and making plays for one another.

High flying Ducks: Pritchard lead all scored with 25 points off 5-for-8 from three-point range. McIntosh and Bailey Jr. finished with 18 points. Freshman Troy Brown Jr., who seemed to find his groove again, finished with 17 points, five assists, and crucial rebounds down the stretch. 

Foul play: Oregon committed 25 team fouls collectively. Junior Paul White fouled out.

Up next: The Ducks host Oregon State in the second chapter of the Civil War at 5 PM (PT) this Saturday, January 27th, at Matthew Knight Arena.

Deja vu for the young Ducks; let another slip away late

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Deja vu for the young Ducks; let another slip away late

How Oregon lost: This was a battle from start to finish. Oregon fell into a 16-6 hole early due to not blocking out and USC getting offensive rebounds. But the Ducks fought their way back to a 36-35 Trojan lead at halftime. From then on it was back-and-forth. With five minutes to go in the game, it started to feel like deja vu from Arizona. Could the Ducks finally finish strong and pull out a win with just a small four-point lead as time winded down? Alas, it did not happen. The chemistry and leadership of a much older, more mature USC team outlasted the Ducks. Oregon (12-7, 2-4 Pac-12) ends its 14-game win streak against USC and falls at home to the Trojans (14-6, 5-2 Pac-12) 75-70 in Matthew Knight Arena.

"They [the losses] are all frustrating. I just think we are a better team," Oregon coach Dana Altman siad. "I'm disappointed in myself because we are not performing at the level that I think we should be performing at. For whatever reason, we haven't been able to get our guys to buy into the things that we think are really important. So, it's frustrating for everybody. We had a long streak over these guys and we should have continued it. And we've lost three ball games at home. I think that's the highest since we've opened up the building. So it's frustrating, but we just have to fight through it. Everybody is judged by how you handle adversity. We are going to have to do a better job of handling some adversity."

Oregon sophomore guard Payton Pritchard led all Oregon scores with 18 points and seven assists, but in the closing minutes, he missed his final four shots. "Last two games we are up with four minutes left and we are not finishing," Pritchard said. "We are not getting the rebounds we need to, we are not... we are just doing the little things wrong."

What it means: This is the second game that Altman has mentioned the team not "buying in" to what the coaches think is important. Could one of these things be rebounding? USC beat Oregon badly on the boards, 36-26 with 13 of those coming at the offensive end. Another point is finishing games. Is not being able to finish against Arizona and USC solely derived from inexperience or is it the result of ignoring Altman, or a little bit of both? The last possessions for Oregon did not look good: falling down on drives, bad passes, bad fouls, and not making plays for one another.

"Right now we are only playing 36 minutes," Pritchard said. "We got to play 40 minutes."

Oregon has another huge test this upcoming Saturday against UCLA at home.

High flying Ducks: Four Oregon players scored in double figures tonight. Led by Pritchard's 18, junior forward Paul White scored 14 points off the bench, freshman Troy Brown Jr., finished with 12 points and five assists, and senior Mikyle McIntosh finished with a double-double 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Foul play: The Ducks committed 24 total team fouls compared to USC's 11. Pritchard fouled out with under a mintue to go, McIntosh and senior guard Elijah Brown finished with four foul each.

Up next: The Ducks host the UCLA Bruins (13-5, 4-2 Pac-12) at 7:15 PM (PT) on Saturday, January 20th, at Matthew Knight Arena.