Brennan Rigsby scored 19 points on 7 – 9 shooting and led 4 Ducks in double figures as Oregon staved off a late rally to beat UC Riverside 71 – 65 last night in Matthew Knight Arena. Oregon opened up a double-digit lead midway in the second half and seemed to have the game in hand before Riverside went on a 9 – 3 run over the last 2:25 to close to the final score. Oregon moved to 6-5 on the season with the home victory.
The first half was a closely contested affair. The Ducks moved out to an early 7 – 2 lead in the first two minutes on 5 points from N’Faly Dante and a jumper from Rigsby. Riverside quickly closed the gap and took the lead – 9 – 8 – at 15:35. Riverside’s largest lead of the game came at 15 – 10 at 12:01, as Oregon had trouble even getting shots off, committing a turnover and offensive foul. The Ducks fought back and started to get it together on offense. When the Ducks can limit their turnovers, they show excellent ball movement, both to open shooters outside and on pinpoint entry passes. Oregon went on a 13 – 5 run to take a 23 – 20 lead at 7:46. Riverside continued to hang around, taking the lead back at 28 – 26 on a deep 3-pointer. Lok Wur and Dante both missed ill-advised outside jumpers during this period. The teams traded scores, and Wur made up for his missed 3-pointer by posting up, scoring and drawing a foul. Although he missed the free throw, Oregon led 34 – 30. Riverside closed to 2 on a step-back jumper in the lane, but after an Oregon turnover, tough inside defense by the Ducks led to a runout and dunk as the first half expired to give Oregon a 36 – 32 lead heading into the locker room. Will Richardson, Jr. led the Ducks with a quiet 10 points, while Rigsby had 8 and Dante and Rivaldo Soares each added 6.
Oregon came out ready in the second half, scoring the first four points on a Dante basket inside and a Rigsby drive and layup to lead 40 – 32. Oregon cranked up its defensive pressure and had some success – at 13:54, Dante stole a pass at midcourt, and hooked a pass deep to Soares who was fouled on his shot inside. The two free throws maintained Oregon’s 8-point lead, 45 – 37. Oregon gained its first double-digit lead at 48 – 37 on a Wur 3-pointer after 2 offensive rebounds by the Ducks on the possession. Oregon continued to lead by double-digits for most of the rest of the game as they continued to score inside with Dante and Quincy Guerrier and outside with Rigsby and Soares. Rigsby’s jumper from the free throw line gave Oregon a 68 – 56 lead with 2:25 to play. Riverside closed to 68 – 65, making a game of it with a 3-pointer, a jumper, a runout layup as Oregon failed to get back on defense and another basket inside. Oregon made 3 free throws in the last minute and Riverside couldn’t score again to leave the final score 71 – 65.
For the game, Rigsby led the Ducks with 19 points and went 3 – 4 from beyond the 3-point arc. Dante had 14 points and 5 rebounds and Richardson added 13 points and 5 assists, but also had 5 turnovers. Soares scored 12 and had 6 rebounds. Wur had 5 points and 3 rebounds off the Oregon bench. The Ducks shot 53.3 percent from the field but were only 4 – 14 from the 3-point line – Ducks not named “Rigsby” were 1 – 10. Oregon also went 19 – 26 from the free throw line. The defense held Riverside to just 40 percent shooting overall and just 26.1 percent from beyond the arc.
The Ducks continue their holiday non-conference schedule and will host the University of Portland Pilots in Eugene on Saturday, December 17 at 5:00 pm. That game will be available on Pac-12 Networks.