Ducks, Tigers, Vegas, coach Nate get prime time

SPORTSLAND: Can anyone stop UO v. Auburn but themselves?
Staff Report

In Part 1 of an intense two-parter, Los, Cliff, and Derek delve into a Civil War preview after a busy sports weekend.  They also manage to nominate their choices for the Game of the Year (Two of which happened on Friday).  Amidst all of this, they manage to recap the weekend's excitement, throw out BCS Hypotheticals, and even talk some High School Football and NFL action. 

In Part 2 of the post-holiday podcast, Los and the gang get into the Blazers recent issues. How'd Roy look in his two games back? Will Wes Matthews work as a starter? Is Batum in the doghouse? Can Nate McMillan figure a strategy for the end of games? All this, plus this week's segments,including What Plucks My Duck, What Makes my Beaver Eager, and We Wanna Watch.

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Nets rally to keep Blazers slumping, 98-96

MORNING REPORT: Blazers lose third straight; Hawks lose, too
Staff Report

The New Jersey Nets have had a habit this season of keeping games close only to fall short in the fourth quarter.

This was never more apparent than their Saturday game against Philadelphia, where they were unable to stop the 76ers late and had some costly miscues.

Sunday night was different, however.

The Nets entered the fourth trailing 78-73, then held Portland to 18 points on 39 percent shooting in the final 12 minutes. New Jersey went 7-of-16 from the floor in the fourth, including three timely three-pointers to score 25, coming out on top, 98-96, in front of 11,448 happy souls.

For the game, New Jersey, sparked by an early-morning shootaround scheduled by frustrated coach Avery Johnson, shot 53 percent-a dramatic improvement over their recent numbers.

At halftime, the Trail Blazers led 52-44, helped tremendously by the Nets' 11 first-half turnovers. New Jersey cleaned up their act tremendously after the break, committing just five turnovers in the second half and stepping up their defense.

The Nets held Portland below 40 percent shooting in the second half after the Blazers had been at 45 percent in the first 30 minutes.
What turned out to be the key sequence in the game came about halfway through the third quarter.

With Portland leading 62-55, Kris Humphries stuffed LaMarcus Aldridge on a dunk attempt, then blocked Brandon Roy's follow-up try. The play energized the team, and Nets outscored Portland 43-34 from that point on.

Devin Harris had 25 points and eight assists to lead the Nets. Wes Matthews led the Blazers with 23 points. Roy added 20 points.

Portland lost for the third-straight game and dropped to 8-8 heading into tonight's game at Philly, which has the worst record in the Eastern Conference at 4-13.



The Portland Winterhawks, ranked No. 2 in all of major junior hockey, lost their third straight game Sunday, falling 3-2 in a shootout before 2,318 fans at Memorial Coliseum.

Portland, which lost 7-2 at Chilliwack, B.C., Friday and 3-2 in a shootout at Tri-City on Saturday, got goals from Nino Niederreiter and Sven Bartschi, but couldn’t score on one of its three penalty shots. The Hawks, who fell to 21-5-0-3, 45 points, lost despite holding a 43-23 edge in shots on goal.


The BCS wheels didn't come off Friday

Oregon, Auburn made their TV appearances entertaining
By Cliff Pfenning,

And Boise State lost, too.

In one of craziest days of play since college football invented the Bowl Championship Series, the top two teams in the nation staged dramatic comebacks and the team destined for an unhappy ranking at No. 3 lost in overtime.

What a day, especially if you were able to watch all three games.

What a game the BCS title match-up of No. 1 Oregon vs. No. 2 Auburn figures to be. They just have to win one more game each to make it happen.

And, the thing to remember about the Oregon-Auburn title game is that it’s played out over 60 minutes.

Chip Kelly has been making that his career statement to interviewers all season – the game is 60 minutes long. Auburn played out Kelly’s dogma in rallying from absolutely getting crushed by in-state rival Alabama to win 28-27. ‘Bama had a chance to end that game in the first 15 minutes, but a crazy, forced fumble caused by a motivated linebacker kept the Tigers in the game long enough to recover from the initial onslaught (24-0) and win, 28-27.

Oregon stumbled enough to trail Arizona 19-14 at halfime, but Kelly, who has to be ranked ahead of only Joe Paterno as worst in-game interview, pointed out to ESPN’s frozen Holly Rowe that the game is 60 minutes long, and he wasn’t worried. Oregon dominated the second half and won by 19.

Then, Boise State – the BCS pain in the neck for Duck fans - led Nevada by 17 at the half, and lost in overtime.

Now, that’s drama.

So, when Oregon and Auburn meet – Oregon still has to beat Oregon State and Auburn still has to beat South Carolina – don’t walk away from the TV regardless of the score at the half, because the game is 60 minutes long. Or longer.


Hawks keep their winning ways moving

Portland cruises past Everett 4-2 at the Garden
Staff Report

The Portland Winterhawks beat U.S. Division rival Everett 4-2 in a rather routine Western Hockey League game before more than 7,000 fans at the Rose Garden Wednesday.

The Hawks got a pair of goals and an assist from Oliver Gabriel and improved to 21-4-0-1, 43 points, keeping they eight points better than any other team in the WHL.

They're ranked No. 2 in the latest BMO Mastercard Canadian Hockey League Top 10 behind only Mississauga St. Michael's Majors, who are 20-2-0-1 41 points and sit atop the Ontario Hockey League.

The Hawks play at Chilliwack Friday and at Tri-City Saturday before returning to Memorial Coliseum for a Sunday game with Medicine Hat at 5 p.m.


College football's big day is Friday this week

Oregon, Auburn both face big challenges
Sportland staff

So, what’s the betting line on Oregon’s home game against Arizona Friday? What about the Iron Bowl earlier in the day?

And, which team will score more - Oregon's football team or Oregon's men's basketball team when it takes on No. 1 Duke at the Rose Garden Saturday.

The Sportsland cast takes up those questions and dives into the injury situation of the Blazers during the weekly podcast from OnDeck Sports Bar in Northwest Portland.


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Jones shows off his game; Ducks eye the Garden

Kentucky, Duke keep on cruising
Staff Report

Those Portland Pilots, who got their chance national power Kentucky Friday, stumbled again Tuesday night, while the Wildcats pulled off a highlight victory in men’s basketball action in the West.

Portland lost handily to Washington State, 84-68, in Seattle’s Key Arena, while No. 8 Kentucky beat No. 13 Washington 74-67 in the Maui Invitational.

Terrence Jones, the Jefferson High grad who signed with Kentucky after publicly announcing he would attend Washington, had 16 points and 17 rebounds in 36 minutes for Kentucky, which pounded Portland, 79-48, at the Rose Garden Friday.

Terrence Ross, a Jefferson classmate of Jones who did sign with Washington, had two points and two rebounds in 10 minutes of action.

Kentucky plays Connecticut tonight in the tournament championship game, which will be televised by ESPN.

Portland plays host to UC Santa Barbara Saturday at the Chiles Center.


Ducks get primed for Duke

Oregon’s men’s hoop team got its final tune-up for its shot at a national power at the Rose Garden – No. 1 Duke Saturday at 1 p.m., with a 75-52 win over Texas Southern at Mac Court.

The Ducks got 13 points from Tyrone Nared and 10 points from E.J. Singler in the win, which moved them to 4-1 under first-year coach Dana Altman.

Duke beat No. 4 Kansas State Tuesday in Kansas City behind 11 points and three rebounds from Kyle Singler, E.J.’s brother.

The Blue Devils, the defending national champions, are 5-0.




Oregon women rally big time in Portland

TUESDAY: Ducks run to third in NCAA championships
Staff Report

It rained before it snowed for the University of Portland women’s basketball team at the Chiles Center Monday night.

Leading 48-28 early in the second half, the Pilots couldn’t stop the Oregon Ducks from hitting six three-point shots and rally for an 83-79 win in non-conference action.

Junior Amanda Jackson scored 20 points and pulled down 12 rebounds to lead the Ducks, who improved to 3-0 on the young season.

Portland got 25 points and 11 rebounds from Natalie Day, but couldn’t overcome the Ducks’ full-court pressure in the second half and dropped to 4-1.

Oregon made just one of seven three-pointers in the first half, but hit six of 13 in the second. The Ducks made 22 of 41 shots in the second half overall, while Portland made just 12 of 29, with just one three-pointer.

Nia Jackson added 18 points for the Ducks, who had 19 assists on 29 baskets.


Oregon scores at NCAA cross country

Third-place finishes from Luke Puskdera and Jordan Hasay highlighted Oregon's 2010 NCAA Cross Country Championships at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind.

Hasay was third in the women's race in 20 minutes, 13.0 secondds, while Puskedra took third in the men's championship in 29:38.0.

Hasay's finish was the best by an Oregon woman in nearly 20 years. Lisa Karnoop was third at the 1991 championships. The only Duck to finish higher was Leann Warren, who was the 1981 runner-up.

In the team competition, the men were sixth with 289 points, while the women took 12th with 378.

Both teams earned a pair of All-America awards, with Matthew Centrowitz finishing 10th on the men's side in 30:01.1, and Alex Kosinski taking 19th in the women's race in 20:32.6.


Washington beats Oregon on snow, ice

Blue Mountain CC claims first volleyball title
Staff Report

Borderclash XII, the annual battle between Oregon and Washington's top high school cross country runners, went about as expected Sunday at the Nike World Headquarters with Washington basically owning the event, but the state got an unexpected win when Spokane upset the Portland Winterhawks 3-1 at Memorial Coliseum.

Eastern Oregon scored a win over the Portland metropolis when Blue Mountain Community College of Pendleton beat Mt. Hood in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges volleyball championships for its first title in any sport.


Washington, with three times the population of Oregon, kept its dominance of the annual cross country duel with convincing wins in the boys and girls races, improving to 10-2 in boys races and 8-4 in girls races.

Kenji Bierig of Washington won the boys race, covering the 4.4-mile course in 13 minutes, 54.93 seconds, while Maddie Meyers of Washington won the girls race in 16:10.59.

Oregon Class 6A champion Matthew Melancon from Sheldon was the top Oregonina in fifth, finishing in 14:04.79. Class 6A girls champion Annamarie Maag of Jesuit placed fourth in 16:16.74.

Overall, Washington's top five finishers won 17-46 in the boys meet, and the girls, who had eight of the top nine finishers, won 16-46.

The course featured a thin layer of snow during meet preparations.



The Winterhawks, ranked No. 1 in junior hockey, lost for just the fifth time this season, giving up three first-period goals to U.S. Division rival Spokane in a Western Hockey League game.

Defenseman Derrick Pouliot scored the lone goal for the Hawks (20-4-0-1, 41 points), who play Everett at the Rose Garden Wednesday in the annual "Great Airplane Toss." Spokane, which sits in fifth place in the U.S. Division, improved to 11-9-1-1, 24 points.

The "Great Airplane Toss" features a $10,000 first prize for getting a paper airplane closest to an on-ice target.



Powered by tournament MVP Rebecca Haight of Longview, Wash., little-known Blue Mountain C.C. beat Mt. Hood 25-21 in a one-set playoff to win its first title since the formation of the NWAACC in 1983.

The Timberwolves won the playoff after dropping a five-set match to the Saints earlier in the afternoon, losing the fifth set 18-16.

Both schools had three players on the all-tournament first team: K.C. Schmit, Becky Kershner and Robyn Schirmer of Blue Mountain, and Kyra Speer, Rylie Engleson and Devan Belshe from Mt. Hood. BMCC's Dave Baty earned Coach of the Year honors.


Winterhawks keep moving, Blazers take a hit

Late game collapse hands Utah win at Rose Garden
Staff Report

The Portland Winterhawks returned to Portland the way they left two weeks ago – with a win.

The Hawks, who moved up to No. 1 in the junior hockey ranks this week, beat Kamloops 6-4 at Memorial Coliseum to improve to 20-3-0-1, 41 points overall. With the win, the Hawks have four more wins than any other team in the Western Hockey League. They play host to Spokane at 5 p.m. Sunday.

Nino Neiderreiter scored a pair of goals to lead Portland, which has a league-leading 102 goals on the season. Ty Rattie scored his team-high 15th goal of the season in the second period before 3,607 fans.

At the neighboring Rose Garden, the Trail Blazers drew a near sellout crowd, but couldn’t put away division rival Utah and lost 103-94.

LaMarcus Aldridge tossed in a team-high 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, but the Jazz outscored the Blazers 38-20 in the fourth quarter to win.

C.J. Miles scored 25 points off the bench for Utah, which improved to 9-5 overall.

Portland had a 48-38 rebounding edge, but hit just four of 22 3-point shots - six fewer than Utah, and dropped to 8-6.

Miles hit five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. Portland missed five 3-pointers in the final minute.

Combined with other results Saturday, the Blazers dropped to eighth place in the Western Conference, a half-game ahead of Denver.

The Blazers don’t play again until Friday, when they host New Orleans at 7 p.m. The team expects to have Brandon Roy back on the court for that game after nearly two weeks off due to a knee injury.

Opinion: For Oden, there’s only one righteous move

By Jeremy Lloyd

Maybe you’ve kept up to date on all the medical minutia related to the most recent season-ending-before-it-started injury to ill-fated Blazer center Greg Oden. If not, let me sum it up for you in one simple stat: In four seasons with the Blazers, Same Bowie played in 139 games. Oden? 82.

For all the energy Blazer fans spent worrying that their fragile 7-footer might be the next Bowie, the sad reality of the situation ended up being that Oden contributed nearly 70% LESS production less than his injury-prone counterpart.

It’s a worst-case scenario, and there’s no sugar-coating it. So where do the Blazers and Oden go from here? Well, sometime Friday Oden will undergo microfracture surgery on his left knee (he previously underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee in 2007). From there, it will be yet another treacherous and tedious year-or-so road to recovery, one that many observers believe may simply be too much for both the body and mind of the 22-year-old.

And, just to complicate matters, Oden is in the last year of his contract and will become a restricted free agent this summer. If the Blazers want to retain his rights they will have to ante up a qualifying offer of nearly $9 million for the 2011-12 season--this for a player who may never see the court again. If Portland doesn’t make a qualifying offer, Oden becomes an unrestricted free agent, and on the off chance that he does go on to have a productive NBA career, it would be with another NBA team.

Blazers President Larry Miller indicated to the Oregonian that the team would most likely decide to take that $9 million roll of the dice on Oden this summer, but neither scenario is fair to the Blazers or their longsuffering fans.

By the end of this season Oden will have received over $19 million for his sporadic contributions to the Blazers. And even more importantly, his injuries--though certainly not Oden’s fault on a personal level--have wrecked havoc on the collective emotions of Rip City.

For Oden to accept big money to rehab most of next season in hopes of a healing miracle would be pure theft. But for him to resurface somewhere else and go on to play well with another franchise would be almost as big a slap in the face to Portland as LeBron’s poorly-orchestrated summertime Decision was to Cleveland.

If you ask me, there’s only one righteous move for Oden: Ask the team to withhold the qualifying offer, become an unrestricted free agent, and sign with the Blazers for the league minimum. He should then give the team and fan base his word that if he ever does regain his health, he will stay in Portland. Sound too simple? Doing the right thing often is.

Maybe Oden never plays in an NBA game again--it’s a real possibility. But he can go out working hard, and doing the right things. Turning down money you know you won’t earn, and pledging loyalty to a fan base that stood by you through every gruesome twist of fate? Frankly, I don’t think that’s too much to ask. Do you?

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