oregon basketball

Don't forget your homework

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 7:21am
Cliff Pfenning
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Homework came up a couple times in entertaining ways in basketball environs Thursday.

While chatting with Western Oregon senior Malik Morgan about the upcoming NCAA Div. II men's basketball regional, I asked him about the other three games set for today on the WOU campus, if he planned to attend any of those games. His senior-dominated team plays at 7:30 p.m., with the other games beginning at noon.

He answered as a committed student-athlete:

"That's one of the bad things about having the tournament in our gym," he said. "You still have to go to class, take tests, pay attention and all that."

In Corvallis, following Marist's comeback win over Silverton in the Class 5A semis, the Marist girls went directly to their fan section and got mobbed, something that hasn't happened to them this season, even though they've been at the top of the state all year and have lost just three times.

"It's nice to finally have some students at our games," junior Kayley Elliott said. "We've been getting great support since we got to the tournament."

But, not, she admitted, before the tournament.

Listening over my shoulder, a grandparent of one of the girls got in my ear.

"You know, we take homework very seriously at Marist," she said. "So the kids don't have all the time to go to basketball games."

They did Thursday, taking a bus from Eugene to Corvallis in the middle of the day as the game started at 1:30 p.m.

The prep state playoffs are an odd connection between teams and fans, and teams don't seem to mind because they get that tournament feel - a feel they might never get again.

High school playoffs, and even small colleges, would be much better served with a Final Four set-up, something the community college playoffs have now adopted instead of playing so many games in such a short time. At the NAIA national tournaments, teams, Eastern Oregon and Southern Oregon are in Iowa playing in their national tournament, have to sin five games - in five days for half the tournament, to win their national title.

For starters, at a tournament - both high school and small college, almost none of the games are played at the time from the regular season, when parents and students are most likely to be able to attend a game - that's 7 p.m. or later. Especially for the prep quarterfinals, it drastically reduces the level of team support available for virtually every team, especially ones that are even a moderate distance from the tournament.

And, with a quarterfinal loss, a team is headed for the consolation bracket, which features games that begin as early as 8 a.m. Nyssa, playing in the Class 3A tournament in Pendleton last weekend, lost it's quarterfinal at 1:30 p.m., then won its second game at 8 a.m. the following morning, and played in the fourth-place final - at 8 a.m. Saturday. The Bulldogs, who lost Satuday and finished 17-11 with a sixth-place trophy, played three games in three days and two started before the school day would have even started back home.

But, they probably loved it, because the games had "tournament" attached to them.

Quarterfinals played at home sites would attract much more attention and bigger crowds basically everywhere, and students would miss less class time, with a Final Four being a lot more vibrant as it would have several days of pre-game anticipation. And, it would be less expensive on the OSAA, which manages the tournaments and reimburses schools for travel and other expenses.

But, the schools and teams don't want it, said OSAA Executive Director Peter Weber.

"We look at it every few years, but the schools ... they really don't support it," he said at the Class 6A tournament Wednesday, acknowledging that a Final Four would be more financially attractive for the OSAA. "They really like the tournaments."

And, Clackamas senior Elly Bankofier said the game itself was the key part of the experience - the Cavaliers having lost to Southridge in the quarterfinals Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. They did have a couple dozen classmates in their student section, who were kept away from them until after they appeared from their lockerroom.

"I like that it was played on a neutral court," she said. "There probably would have been more people at a game at their gym, but I like the way it is with the tournament."

So, a Final Four would be much better for high schools, but the players involved don't want that because for at least one week they get to be athletes 100 percent of the time, and students on the way to making up homework sometime in the future.

 

Oregon women get their turn with LA

Oregon, OSU men drop games, Damian All-Star ready, Timbers
Staff report

The Oregon women's basketball team, fresh from a pair of wins over the Washington schools, plays host to the Southern California schools this weekend, with No. 7 UCLA on tap for 7 p.m. Monday night.

The ninth-ranked Ducks, Bruins and Stanford are tied atop the Pac-12 Conference standings at 12-2, wich Oregon State in fourth at 10-4. The Beavers, ranked 15th, get their shot at the Bruins on Friday night in Corvallis.

USC, in seventh in the conference at 7-7, plays at Oregon on Friday, and OSU on Sunday.

Both Oregon schools wrap up the regular season with games in Arizona, then head to the conference tournament in Las Vegas, March 2.

2. OREGON WOMEN GET No. 7 UCLA THIS WEEKEND

The Oregon men's basketball team dropped a key game Thursday night, giving up the decisive basket with 0.8 seconds remaining in a 72-70 loss at USC.

MiKyle McIntosh scored a season-high 23 points and Payton Pritchard added 17, but the Ducks lost their chance to stay within a half-game of second place in the Pac-12 standings. Oregon entered a half-game behind the Trojans in the conference standings behind USC and UCLA, but both LA schools won Thursday with the Bruins beating Oregon State at the same time as the Oregon game played out.

Oregon, 7-6 in the conference, gets a chance to stay within striking distance with a game at UCLA Saturday.

OSU lost 75-68 and fell to 5-8 in conference play with a game at USC Friday.

 

3. DAMIAN HEADS FOR TEAM STEPH

Portland Trail Blazer Damian Lillard will be in LA this weekend as well for his third trip to the NBA All-Star game, being played Sunday at the Staples Center.

Lillard will play on the roster selected by Steph Curry in the new All-Star game set-up in which the team stars, Curry and Lebron James, selected their teams ala playground-style.

Curry's team includes James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Jimmy Butler of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

 

4. TIMBERS PREP FOR NEXT PRESEASON MATCH

The Portland Timbers will play their fourth preseason match Saturday in Tucson, Ariz., fresh from a 1-1 tie with the Houston Dynamo Wednesday.

Portland faces FC Dallas Saturday as it contines to prepare for the season opener in Los Angeles, March 3.

 

 

Oregon women face key weekend

No. 6 Ducks face two ranked opponents at home
Staff report

The Oregon women's basketball team continues it's drive to make a national name for itself ahead of the NCAA Tournament this weekend when it faces Cal and Stanford at home.

And, that's great timing as the Ducks are unbeaten at Matthew Knight Arena this season.

The sixth-ranked Ducks face Cal, ranked No. 25, Friday, then Stanford, ranked No. 24, Sunday, with a shot at reaching 15-0 at home.

Oregon is ranked as high as it's ever been, and is leading the Pac-12 Conference with a shot at winning the regular-season title for the first time since 2000. The team reached 20 wins last weekend, the quickest it's gotten to that mark in program history.

The Ducks have not won the conference tournament since it began in 2002. Stanford is the defending champion and has won the tournament in all-but four years since then.

 

 

 

Oregon makes another sales pitch

Ducks hand UCLA loss before sellout crowd
Staff report

EUGENE - Oregon got 25 points, including four key free throws, from sophomore point guard Payton Pritchard, and beat UCLA 94-91 Saturday at Matthew Knight Arena.

Oregon, which improved to 13-7 overall, and 3-4 in Pac-12 games, led by as many as 18 points in the second half before the Bruins rallied to within 88-77 with a 10-0 run in the final two minutes, and the game became a free-throw battle.

Oregon made all six of its free throws, while UCLA, 13-7 and 4-4, countered by making all four of its attempts.

The Bruins missed a half-court shot at the buzzer.

Oregon’s win came a year after it beat the Bruins on a last-second 3-pointer, which was part of a stirring run to the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four.

This season, the Ducks are essentially a long-shot to make the Tournament for a sixth-straight season.

MiKyle McIntosh and Victor Bailey Jr. had 18 points each for the Ducks Saturday. Troy Brown added 17 points.

The Ducks had three players in double figures by halftime and led 52-38 at the break. They shot 55.6 percent (20 of 36) from the field and had zero first-half turnovers.

Oregon returns to action Saturday with a home game against Oregon State, looking to square the in-state series after the Beavers won the first meeting in Corvallis in December.

 

Bell shines, sparks Warriors' win

Oregon alum helps Golden State stymie Lillard, Portland
AP Report

Dunks, blocks, and the gravity of being in the perfect place at the perfect time. It would be easy to say that of course Jordan Bell can do this on a great team like the Warriors, but a roster like that should be even harder to crack for a rookie. Yet here he is fitting in like he has been playing in the system for years. That’s impressive.

As some of the Warriors other stars get old, which will happen eventually, the front office can be happy knowing it got someone like Bell to fill the roles. If he keeps making plays like this, maybe he’ll become a Warriors headliner.

Bell isn’t likely to win a regular spot in the Warriors starting lineup this season. But, over the last five weeks, Bell has evolved from occasionally being relegated to the inactive list to earning semi-regular minutes to becoming a very valuable member of the bench.

And his coach, Steve Kerr, also has evolved from benching Bell for learning purposes to saying he deserves more minutes to, this week, announcing that the forward/center is been “outstanding” in his rookie season.

The latest examples came Monday night, in a 111-104 win over Portland. With Draymond Green sitting out due to sore right shoulder, Kerr inserted Bell into the lineup for his third start. His numbers were excellent: 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting, six rebounds, two assists and one block over 26 minutes. He was plus-14, best of anyone on the team.

But, as often is the case, Bell’s performance includes moments that astound the observer. In this instance it’s a third-quarter chase-down block of a layup by Blazers star Damian Lillard, the trailer on a two-on-one fast break.

Bell, who concedes that his bad-pass turnover triggered the Portland break, immediately remembers a sequence last week in New Orleans, where a Warriors turnover gave the Pelicans a three-on-one break.

“They missed, got the rebound again and missed again,” he recalled. “I was just standing there and coach was like, ‘Get down there. You’re a rookie. That’s how you have to be successful on this team. You have to play hard.’

“I was about to walk down. And then I was like, ‘Oh, I’m going to get taken out.’ So I just ran down and happened to be in the right place.”

It’s one of several highlight plays for the Warriors. No, it was more than that.

“That chase-down block after the turnover was spectacular,” said Kevin Durant, who drained a jumper seven seconds after the block. “That play kind of got us going.”

If Lillard makes the layup, it trims the Warriors lead to nine, 66-57, with 9:32 left in the quarter.

Instead, with Oracle Arena roaring and the team energized, the Warriors turn up the energy and, less than three minutes later, have a 21-point lead, 80-59.

 

Hoops finally hits the hardwood

High school basketball begins across the state
Staff report

After eight months of shooting drills, defensive shuffles and flat out running until parents showed up looking at their watches, high school basketball kicked off Friday with games across the state.

McKay of Salem hit 90 points in its boys win over Lakeridge, Benson hit 87 in its boys win over Gresham, just as the school's girls team was registering a decisive 61-44 win at Jesuit.

For the Benson girls, the game was a fabulous start to a season that includes a scheduled trip for a tournament in Washington, D.C. later this month.

Snuck into all the excitement of varsity play, was Mountainside of Beaverton beginning its drive toward varsity play next year with a boys Junior Varsity 2 game against Beaverton. Mountainside opened this year.

While league play begins for some of the six classifications, the non-league boys schedule includes the annual 16-team Les Schwab Classic, Dec. 27-30, and annual Nike Invitational for girls, Dec. 27-29.

Oregon City, set to play in the Nike Invitational, began its season Thursday with a four-day tournament in California, and plans to play in an eight-team tournament in Hawaii beginning Thursday as part of its drive to win its first state title since 2014.

Sutherlin's girls team, which has won the past four Class 4A state titles, lost Friday to Dayton in a tournament it plays host to.

 

 

 

Ducks headed for key playoffs

Will a trip to the Final Four get passion for the UO program back to The Pit level?
March 7, 2016

If something dramatic happens to the University of Oregon football team - like a dramatic turnaround that’s happened in the past decade at schools such as Michigan and Texas, could the Ducks become a basketball school?

After all, the team is headed for its fourth-straight NCAA Tournament after winning the Pac-12 regular season title. And the team appears built for post-season success for many years with a hot coach in Dana Altman.

So, could Eugene be as much a basketball town as football? That’s a key topic for the ninth episode of Sportsland, Oregon 2016.

As the Ducks head into the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas, and then a possible No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, a strong result (Final Four) could get the passion for the program heading toward making it one of the stronger ones in the conference. And will that passion ever approach what it was at The Pit in it's newer, plush arena - The Mat?

The Blazers, Timbers and youth basketball all come up from our base at Pour Sports in Southeast Portland.


Ducks own the Pac-12

Oregon heads into tournament with top seed after weekend sweep
March 6, 2016 / Staff report

LOS ANGELES - The University of Oregon might be a basketball school, not football. At least for the spring.

Tyler Dorsey scored 19 points, Elgin Cook added 17 and No. 9 Oregon beat Southern California 76-66 on Saturday to clinch the Pac-12 title outright, the Ducks’ first since 2002 and fifth in school history.

Oregon (25-6, 14-4) overcame a 20-minute power outage in the first half at Galen Center and the Trojans’ early run in the second half to close out the regular season with its fifth straight victory and 11th in 13 games.

The Trojans (20-11, 9-9) lost to Oregon for the 12th straight time, the Ducks’ longest-ever winning streak against USC. Katin Reinhardt and Nikola Jovanovic scored 12 points each, and Jordan McLaughlin added 10 for the Trojans, who went 2-6 in their last eight games.

The Trojans opened both halves strong, outscoring the Ducks 13-4 to start the second half and take a 50-48 lead, their first since early in the game. After going 9 of 10 from the free throw line in the first half, they struggled in the second, making just 8 of 18.

USC tied the game for the last time at 52-all on Reinhardt’s inside basket, but made just one field goal in the final five minutes.

Casey Benson’s three-pointer gave the Ducks a 63-56 lead after Dillon Brooks made his first basket of the game with 8 minutes to go. Brooks came in averaging a team-leading 17.2 points but got two fouls in the first half and went 1-of-6 from the field.

Dwayne Benjamin added 14 points and Jordan Bell had 10 for the Ducks, who extended their lead to 10 points on Benjamin’s three-pointer with less than two minutes to go.

The lights inside Galen Center went out with 5  minutes left in the first half and Oregon leading 31-22. The Ducks were in the midst of a 28-7 run that produced their largest lead, 37-22. Cook scored nine points and Dorsey added eight in the spurt.

Once the lights came back on, the Ducks scored six straight to finish their big run. The Trojans answered with a 15-7 spurt, getting 3-pointers from Reinhardt and Bennie Boatwright, to end the half trailing 44-37.

Shrugging off their history of slow starts, the Trojans opened the game by outscoring the Ducks 15-9. Cook and Dorsey combined to score 13 straight points in launching the Ducks’ dominant offensive stretch that helped them shoot 59 percent in the half.

TIP-INS: The Ducks are the top seed for the league tourney in Las Vegas. ... They swept the L.A. schools, having beaten UCLA 76-68 on Thursday, when Dorsey scored 20 points. ... They improved to 16-0 when holding opponents under 70 points.

UP NEXT: Oregon opens the Pac-12 Tournament as the top seed Thursday in Las Vegas at noon.

Ducks sweep weekend

Oregon rebounds from Civil War loss with wins over Cal, Stanford
Jan. 10, 2016

EUGENE - After losing on the road to start the Pac-12 season, the Oregon men's basketball team tamed both California and Stanford during the weekend at the Matthew Knight Arena.

Oregon beat Cal 68-65 on Wednesday and Stanford 71-58 on Sunday to improve to 11-0 at home, and 13-3 overall. This weekend they play at Utah and Colorado.
 
Sunday, the Ducks spent the first half trying to figure out Stanford’s zone defense, and the second half picking it apart. After recording just nine assists in Wednesday’s win over California, Oregon had 11 in the second half alone Sunday, on 14 field goals as the Ducks extended what was a 28-24 halftime lead.

Oregon’s best sequence came midway through the second half, as Casey Benson found Dwayne Benjamin for a corner three and a 48-38 lead. That began a stretch of six straight field goals that were assisted on, with Dillon Brooks setting up Benjamin for a dunk, Tyler Dorsey feeding Chris Boucher for a layin and Benson setting up Brooks on the next three trips. That sequence gave Oregon its first double-digit lead, and Stanford (9-6, 2-2) never got closer than seven the rest of the way.

Wednesday, it was 52-50 when Boucher hit a three-pointer for Oregon, then blocked a three-point attempt on the other end. Cal freshman Ivan Rabb scored against Boucher moments later to get the Bears within 57-54, but two possessions later Elgin Cook broke down a defender for a layin and then completed the three-point play after a timeout to match Oregon’s biggest lead, 60-54.

The Ducks then went scoreless on their next four possession, and Cal closed within 60-57. Coming out of a timeout with just under a minute to go, Dorsey hit a three-pointer from the corner on an inbounds play, and Oregon led by six again. The Ducks hit enough free throws the rest of the way to hang on.

Back-to-back threes by Dorsey had provided an early 11-6 lead in the first half, but Cal used a 10-2 run to claw ahead, 16-13. Oregon finally tied the game 23-23 on a hook shot by Boucher, and another Boucher basket forged the 27-27 halftime tie.

Ducks keep rolling toward postseason

Oregon beats Stanford, 73-70, clinches Pac-12 tournament bye
March 1, 2015 / Associated Press

STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins pointed to Oregon junior forward Elgin Cook as the primary reason the Ducks came out ahead in an important Pac-12 Conference game Sunday.

Cook scored 21 points, the third time he’s scored as many, and the Ducks beat the Cardinal 73-70 to clinch the third seed and a first-round bye in the upcoming Pac-12 Conference tournament.

Dwayne Benjamin, who had 15 points, made one of two free throws with 14 seconds remaining to give Oregon (22-8, 12-5 Pac-12) the lead and Joseph Young, who also scored 21 points, sank a pair of free throws with three seconds left after a missed Stanford shot.

Cook, who entered the game with a 12.7 scoring average, helped the Ducks win their fourth straight and eight of nine overall.

“He really stepped up for them,” Dawkins said. “That’s the best I’ve ever seen him play. He was hitting his perimeter shots and creating tough match-ups for us.”

Chasson Randle scored 17 points to lead the Cardinal (18-10, 9-7), who fell a half-game behind UCLA, which holds the tie-breaker over Stanford. Stefan Nastic added 16 points, Marcus Allen 14 and Anthony Brown 11.

Brown gave Stanford a 60-59 edge on a driving layup with just under seven minutes remaining in the contest. He extended the lead a minute later with a short jumper.

Oregon kept coming, though, and tied the game on Benjamin’s 3-pointer from the corner with 3:26 left. The Ducks took the lead moments later when Bell blocked a shot at one end of the court and slammed the ball through the net on the other end.

The game was tied at 70 heading into the final minute. The teams traded turnovers, with Benjamin stealing the ball and getting fouled with 14 seconds left to play.

“We got some stops there where we needed them,” Ducks coach Dana Altman said. “Then Dwayne came up with a big steal. It was imperative that he get one of those free throws down. We’d loved to have had both, but we had to have one to get a lead.”

Randle was looking to create something in the paint before trying to get the ball back out, where Benjamin stepped in and grabbed it.

“I thought he was going to drive and make something happen,” Altman said. “He was successful doing it. I thought our guys did a pretty good job of fighting him all night.”

Stanford missed its last seven shots of the first half, shot 4 of 8 from the foul line and committed a pair of turnovers during that eight-minute span.

The Ducks were 6 of 11 from the field over the same stretch.

The Cardinal were ahead 29-28 after a Stefan Nastic free throw with 3:45 to play in the first half.

Oregon outscored Stanford 8-1 the rest of the way to take a 36-30 halftime advantage.

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