The Ducks reach the Pac-12 Tournament final for third-straight year
LAS VEGAS – Dylan Ennis was prone on the hardwood, looking up to the ceiling of T-Mobile Arena. He was flexing. He was yelling. He knew the Ducks were bound for the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament championship game.
Just seconds earlier with the Ducks holding a two-point lead, he put his head down and went to the rim, making contact with Cal’s 7-footer Kingsley Okoroh. As Ennis fell to the floor, the ball dropped through the hoop and Ducks fans in attendance went wild. Once he buried the free throw Oregon had a five-point lead with 22 seconds left and no worries.
Ennis’ key play loomed large in the 73-65 win, which sets up the top-seeded Ducks with No. 2 seed Arizona in Saturday’s Pac-12 Tourney title game, Oregon’s third straight under coach Dana Altman.
“I love Oregon basketball,” Ennis said. “For us to be in the championship again shows that we’re one of the national powerhouses. I think a lot of people are going to start respecting us around the country.”
The contest got off to a sobering start when Cal star senior Jabari Bird landed on his head after toppling over Oregon’s Jordan Bell trying to block a shot. Bird had to leave the game just one minute after it started, and was eventually placed on a stretcher and transported to a hospital for CT scans, according to Pac-12 Networks’ Ashley Adamson.
In Bird’s absence, Cal guard Grant Mullins did a fine impression, going 7-of-8 from the field and 5-of-5 from beyond the arc en route to 23 points, but the Bears couldn’t make enough plays down the stretch.
“It's a big loss, especially on the offensive side of the ball, that level of production,” Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said. “It's not an easy thing to do, but I thought our guys did a great job battling and competing.”
Likewise, Oregon's scoring leader, Dillon Brooks, spent a lot of time on the sidelines Friday. He only played 21 minutes after picking up his fourth foul two minutes into the second half, sitting out the next 13 minutes of the game.
With Brooks spending nearly half the game on the bench, Dorsey paced the Ducks offense with 23 points, going 9-of-13 from the floor and 5-of-6 from distance. Dorsey scored eight of Oregon’s first 12 points and never took his foot off the pedal.
“Everybody has to pick it up and pick up their role,” Dorsey said. “That's what we did tonight. We can't control how the refs are going to call it, and they called a couple on Dillon early and everybody had to pick up.”
Meanwhile, Brooks finished with 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting and grabbed six rebounds, taking responsibility for his performance in the locker room following the game.
“I had an off day,” Brooks said. “Shots weren’t falling and I was fouling a lot, cheap fouls. But you know, it’s a team game and my teammates picked me up.”
Oregon carried a 36-33 lead into the locker room at halftime before stretching the lead to as many as 13 with about 13 minutes left. But Cal crept back, eventually cutting the lead to just two when freshman Charlie Moore sank a couple of big free throws the possession before Ennis’ and-one. Moore played beyond his years once again, scoring 15 points, but the Bears are now relegated to waiting on Selection Sunday to see if their name is called.
Oregon overcomes horrid first half for 68-65 win at Cal
A season-low point total in the first half only served to make Wednesday's game at Cal more exciting for Oregon men's basketball fans who travelled to Berkeley, Calif.
Dillon Brooks scored the final three of his 22 points on a long-range shot with 0.2 seconds left to rally the No. 6 Ducks to a 68-65 win over the upset-minded Golden Bears.
Cal held Oregon to just 16 points through 20 minutes - a low for any team coach Dana Altman has guided since arriving in Eugene in 2010, and led 32-16 early in the second half. Oregon still trailed by 10 with 4:15 left before finding a rhythm behind Dillon Brooks and Christian Boucher, who combined for 35 points in the second half.
Oregon finally took its first lead with 1:51 left on a Boucher lay-up, and eventually finished the game on a 19-6 run capped by Brooks' basket - his second game-winning shot in the final second this season.
Oregon improved to 25-4 overall and 14-2 in Pac-12 play heading into a road game at Stanford Saturday.
Cal dropped to 18-9, 9-6, and will play host to Oregon State Saturday.
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.
EUGENE - Any campaign for Oregon’s Dillon Brooks as Pac-12 player of the year might have to start with an endorsement from a coach outside his own camp.
Utah coach Larry Kyrstkowiak saw enough Sunday to believe Brooks might have the right stuff.
“If we get a chance to play him again this year, we’re going to have to get back to the drawing board and come up with a different plan as to how we’re going to defend it because he’s hurt us,” Kyrstkowiak said. “And not just us.
“He’s an all-Pac-12 player at this point and he’s playing at a really high level.”
Brooks had 30 points and nine assists, both career highs, to lead No. 16 Oregon to a 76-66 victory over Utah.
“We didn’t have an answer for Dillon Brooks,” Krystkowiak added. “That was a huge difference in the game.”
Chris Boucher added 15 points and Elgin Cook had 12 for the Ducks (20-4, 9-2 Pac-12), who won their sixth consecutive game and 22nd straight at home, one shy of the school record.
Brooks, who had the first 30-point game for Oregon this season, had six rebounds.
“People tend to put everything on the offensive end, and he had a great game offensively,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “He had a couple of communication gaps on the defensive end, and I don’t know if it was his best (game), but it ranks right up there.
“It was a great performance.”
Kyle Kuzma led the Utes (17-7, 6-5) with 18 points and Jordan Loveridge had 16 points and 10 rebounds. Jakob Poeltl, the Pac-12’s second-leading scorer at 17.4 points per game, had 13 points and eight rebounds
Oregon made the Utes pay for their 14 turnovers by converting them into 19 points.
The Ducks’ biggest lead was 55-39 on a three-point play by Brooks. Four times the Utes cut the deficit to single digits, and on each occasion, Oregon answered with the ball going through Brooks on all four possessions.
“Dillon was confident, he made a lot of shots and did a lot of good things for us,” Cook said. “He played a real solid game.”
Brooks capped his 17-point second half with a 3 in the last minute for the Ducks’ final points.
Despite his team’s 1 1/2-game lead atop the Pac-12 standings with seven games to go in the regular season, Altman, who didn’t make Brooks available for postgame interviews, was a tougher sell on the sophomore’s candidacy for player of year.
“ I just don’t believe a player of the year can be on a team that’s not one or two or three (in the Pac-12) and in the hunt right to the end,” Altman said, “and I think it’s going to be a hunt right to the end. There’s a lot of good teams.”
The lead changed hands seven times before an 11-2 run, capped by Boucher’s high-bouncing 3-pointer, helped put the Ducks up 41-35 at halftime. Brooks had 13 points and four assists.
The Ducks sweep through Arizona with win Sunday night
Jan. 31, 2016 / Associated Press
TEMPE, Ariz. - Chris Boucher scored a career-high 26 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked seven shots as the 23rd-ranked Oregon Ducks beat Arizona State 91-74 and took sole possession of first place halfway through the Pac-12 season Sunday.
“Unbelievable game,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “He really, really changed the game. He was super tonight.”
Dillon Brooks added 18 points and Tyler Dorsey 16 for the Ducks (18-4, 7-2), who won their fourth straight and seventh in the last eight games. Oregon is ahead of four teams at 6-3 in conference play.
“We put ourselves in a good position winning these two games,” Oregon’s Elgin Cook said. “But it’s a real deep league. We just don’t want any slip-ups.”
Boucher was the national junior college player of the year last season at Northwest College in Wyoming and transferred to Oregon despite never playing an organized game until age 19. He’s listed as a senior but has appealed to have another year of eligibility restored.
In this one, he hurt the Sun Devils from inside and outside, sinking a career-best four 3-pointers in eight attempts and swatting away repeated Arizona State drives at the rim.
“Boucher is a lot tougher than he looks,” Sun Devils coach Bobby Hurley said. “... He was flawless with his shooting. He was driving it, he was dunking it, he was blocking shots. He’s a big-time player.”
Obinna Oleka scored 17 points and Gerry Blakes 15 for the Sun Devils (12-10, 2-7).
Oregon completed a sweep of the Arizona teams in the desert. The Ducks ended No. 18 Arizona’s 49-game homecourt winning streak with an 83-75 win in Tucson on Thursday night.
Altman warned his team of a possible letdown after such a big win.
“He was like, `You know, if we lose to Arizona State it doesn’t matter if you beat Arizona,” Boucher said.
The coach said it helped that the team had an extra day off to get over the Arizona victory and ready for the Sun Devils.
“This is one place where the schedule did us a favor I thought by giving us an extra day,” Altman said.
Leading just 37-36 at the break Sunday, Oregon scored the first seven points of the second half from the foul line and the Sun Devils never caught up again.
Three-pointers by Kodi Justice and Blakes cut the Ducks’ lead to 53-50, then Boucher sank consecutive 3s, Brooks made two free throws and scored inside and a 12-2 run put Oregon up 65-52 with 8 minutes to play.
Tra Holder’s 3 cut the lead to 70-63 but Arizona State could get no closer. A technical foul on Hurley for complaining on a foul call resulted in Dorsey sinking three free throws to put the Ducks up 73-63 with 4:57 left.
Hurley wasn’t happy with the free-throw discrepancy. Oregon was 29 of 38 at the line, the Sun Devils 14 of 17.
“The free-throw differential killed us,” he said. “Thirty-eight and 17 (attempts). They outshot us at the free-throw line by 15 and the final score was 17.”
The Ducks jumped to a 13-0 lead but Arizona State outscored them 23-7 over the next 8 1/2 minutes to take a 23-20 lead. There were four ties and three lead changes in the first 20 minutes.
“The way that they really separated themselves was with their athletic ability, their length and their ability to create turnovers with that,” Hurley said, “and also they were able to block shots.”
The Ducks were 9 for 9 at the foul line in the first 1:45 of the second half to assist the win.
Oregon ends Arizona's 49-game home winning streak with stellar effort
Jan. 27, 2016 / Associated Press
TUCSON, Ariz. - Dillon Brooks scored 24 points, and No. 23 Oregon ended Arizona’s 49-game home winning streak with an 83-75 victory over the No. 18 Wildcats on Thursday night at the McHale Center.
Dwayne Benjamin added 15, Elgin Cook had 13 and Tyler Dorsey had 12 for the Ducks (17-4, 6-2 Pac-12), who entered the game tied for first in the Pac-12.
Ryan Anderson scored 22, and Gabe York had 18 for the Wildcats (16-5, 4-4), who lost at home for the first time since California beat them 77-69 on Feb. 10, 2013. It was the longest active home winning streak in the country.
The Ducks outscored Arizona 19-11 over the final 6 minutes.
The Wildcats committed 19 turnovers to Oregon’s six.
Trailing 42-41 at the half, Oregon took its first lead of the night on Cook’s 3 with 16:08 to play. It was part of a 10-0 Ducks run that was capped by Benjamin’s 3-pointer, boosting the lead to 52-46 with 15:30 to go.
Arizona’s Parker-Jackson Cartwright sank a 3-pointer from the baseline to tie the score at 64-64 with 7:25 to play, but the Ducks scored the next eight points. Benjamin was fouled on a 3-point try and made all three free throws, then Brooks sank his second 3-pointer, and Oregon led 72-64 with 4:47 to play.
The Wildcats led the entire first half. They made their first eight shots of the game to bolt to an 18-7 lead and were up 26-13 after Parker Jackson-Cartwright sank a 3-pointer with 11:24 left in the half.
But in a fast-paced game, the Ducks climbed back in it.
Kaleb Tarczewski’s two free throws put Arizona up 42-36 1:25 before the break.
But Benson followed with a 3-pointer to make it 42-39 1:02 left .
After the teams exchanged possessions, Oregon had an out-of-bounds play with 2.1 seconds left, and Dorsey broke free for a layup at the buzzer to cut Arizona’s lead to 42-41 at the break.
It was the only time the teams will play in the regular season.
The Badgers end Oregon's season for the second straight year
March 22, 2015 / Associated Press
OMAHA, Neb. - The Oregon Ducks played thir way almost into the Sweet 16 for the second straight year. But, as happened last season, a solid performance came up short against the same opponent: Wisconsin.
A year after pestering the Badgers throughout the second half only to come up eight points short, Oregon rallied from a double-digit first-half deficit and had a chance to take the lead in the second half.
But, it didn’t happen, and top-seeded Wisconsin escaped with a 72-65 victory in the NCAA tournament’s round of 32 at CenturyLink Center on Sunday night.
Wisconsin had its worst shooting game in a month and got outrebounded by the smaller Ducks, and Big Ten Player of the Year Frank Kaminsky was quiet offensively for long stretches.
The Badgers (33-3) were able to get out to a quick lead and hold on, and now they’re headed to the regional semifinals for the fourth time in five years. They’ll play No. 4 North Carolina on Thursday in Los Angeles.
“We’re definitely excited and thrilled to be there, but we’re not as in awe or shocked as we were last year,” Nigel Hayes said. “Last year, we were jumping around up and down on the court, celebrating. This time, it was ‘Hoo-rah, good job guys. We have the next game to take care of.’”
Sam Dekker scored 17 points, hitting a couple big baskets after Oregon (26-10) had tied it late. Kaminsky had 16 points, with no shot bigger than his putback of Hayes’ missed free throw to make it a 10-point game with 44 seconds left.
Hayes had 14 points and Bronson Koenig added 12.
Pac-12 Player of the Year Joseph Young, who scored 27 points in a win over Oklahoma State on Friday, had 30 against the Badgers.
“We had ourselves in a position against an experienced, well-coached and very good team,” Ducks coach Dana Altman said. “I’m sorry we couldn’t get it finished off for these guys so we could keep playing.”
Wisconsin played with the lead all game until Dwayne Benjamin tied it at 52 with a high-arcing 3-pointer from in front of his bench with 5:27 left. The Badgers took the lead right back, though, with Dekker’s reverse layup and 3-pointer to make it 58-52.
“Oregon made their run to fight back,” Dekker said, “just as a good team always does. And good teams respond to those runs. We settled in, and guys weren’t going to get too riled up. We got a big 6-0 run there and opened up the lead and held on from there. It’s a game of runs, and you’ve got to respond at the right time.”
Jalil Abdul-Bassit had 12 points for the Ducks, who were trying to get to the Sweet 16 for the second time in three years.
The size advantage that Wisconsin was supposed to enjoy against Oregon wasn’t much of an advantage at all. Oregon outrebounded the Badgers 34-32, outscored them 30-24 in the lane and had four blocks to Wisconsin’s three.
“At this point,” guard Josh Gasser said, “I don’t care if we play like crap and still win. We did some good things, we did some bad things.”
Credit Oregon for causing Wisconsin to shoot just 43 percent from the field and go 7-for-23 on 3-pointers.
“I knew they were going to throw a lot of different things at us -- double-teams, triple-teams, pressure up and down the court,” Kaminsky said. “When that happens, there’s bound to be a lot of missed shots.”
Oregon, which shot 55 percent against Oklahoma State on Friday, shot 44.1 percent and needed some time to get its offense going. Young had a couple shots rim out and missed his first five, and Elgin Cook couldn’t finish what should have been an easy dunk off a Young lob.
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.
Portland still looks like the NW Division champs; Oregon might be a Big Dancer
Feb. 23, 2015 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal
Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that the Portland Trail Blazers were in the running for best record in the Western Conference?
Now, there’s concern they may not even win the Northwest Division title, even though the team that might beat them, the Oklahoma City Thunder, didn’t even reach a playoff spot until this month.
But, that’s the challenge of the regular season, and a key topic of Episode 7 of Sportsland, Oregon.
The Oregon Ducks seem headed to the NCAA Tournament, possibly without needing to win the Pac-12 Tournament. But, no reason they shouldn’t, especially as basketball fans across the state might have gotten used to who’s on the team.
Daytona, the Timbers, even the pace of play in the Major Leagues get some attention, all recorded at Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland.
EUGENE - Larry Krystkowiak had a simple diagnosis for what ailed No. 9 Utah on Sunday.
His Utes suffered from a lack of an inside presence, subpar 3-point shooting and a dearth of second-half rebounds in their 69-58 loss to Oregon.
“There were a lot of 50-50 balls that didn’t go our way,” Krystkowiak said. “We just need to play harder.”
Dillon Brooks scored 11 straight points late in the second half and finished with 19 to help the Ducks (20-8, 10-5 Pac-12) enhance their own NCAA tournament chances.
Joseph Young added 14 points and Elgin Cook had 12 for Oregon, which sits comfortably in third place in the Pac-12 after its first victory over a Top 10 team since beating then-No. 3 Arizona last year in the regular-season finale.
Delon Wright scored 20 points for Utah (21-5, 11-3). The Utes dropped a game behind Arizona in the conference race with a showdown against the No. 7 Wildcats set for next Saturday in Salt Lake City.
Utah attempted more 3-pointers (29) than shots from inside the arc (23) for the first time this season, though many of the long-range tries came in catch-up mode late.
“Guys get up in us (on defense) and we’ve got to be able to make some plays and feed the post,” Krystkowiak said. “I thought we were miserable at getting the ball inside.
“Then when we did get the ball inside, we didn’t finish very strong. That’s something we’ve got to polish up this week.”
Brooks, a freshman, scored seven consecutive points to put the Ducks up by 10 with 4:58 to play. After Utah had a 5-0 run to pull within three again, Brooks added four more points -- the last two on a driving dunk -- to give the Ducks a 59-52 cushion.
“I thought he hit big buckets for us,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “He really was aggressive taking the ball to the hole.
“We ran a couple things for him late because he did have the hot hand, and he responded pretty well.”
Young’s final shot brought the biggest roar from the season-best crowd of 10,725. After a video review gave the Ducks possession under their basket with 1:53 left, Young inbounded the ball and ran to the right corner.
Two quick passes and 4 seconds later, the ball was out of Young’s hands, and his 3 made it 62-55.
“He hit a huge one when we needed it,” Altman said.
Oregon sealed the win by hitting 7 of 8 free throws in the final 1:09. The Ducks were 15 of 18 overall from the foul line.
Utah made just 10 of 31 shots (32.3 percent) in the second half and finished 8 of 29 (27.6 percent) from 3-point range after coming in as the Pac-12’s best beyond the arc at 40.6 percent.
The taller Utes, who also rank second in the Pac-12 in rebounding margin, saw the Ducks grab a 23-14 edge on the glass in the second half. Oregon finished with a 35-31 advantage in rebounds.
“They made plays when they needed to, and I thought they played with more energy overall,” Krystkowiak said. “They kicked our butts on the glass in the second half.”
Utah jumped to a 7-2 lead but lost 7-foot freshman Jakob Poeltl to his second foul after just 4 1/2 minutes were gone on a play that also wiped out a 3 by Wright.
Poeltl, the Utes’ top rebounder, missed the rest of the half and finished with five points and four rebounds.
Both teams struggled on offense until Young’s layup gave Oregon its first lead at 21-19 with 5:30 left in the half. Young’s first points also started a 9-2 run that helped lift the Ducks to a 32-27 halftime advantage.
Oregon forced the Utes into 11 turnovers in the first half and converted those into 11 points.