In a home win over #9 Arizona and a road victory at Cal in the last week, it really appeared that Oregon’s Men’s basketball team had turned some kind of corner. Duck fans are used to waiting for mid-season for Dana Altman’s teams to really hit their stride, so while it’s a little later than usual, it seemed like a replay of previous years. Unfortunately, the “10-days-ago” Ducks showed up for tonight’s contest, and after leading almost wire-to-wire, Stanford beat Oregon 71 – 64.
In those two previous games, Oregon had averaged 87 points, so tonight’s offense production was way down. Stanford took advantage of some lax Duck defense, scoring plenty of easy buckets inside, and shooting very well from beyond the 3-point arc, particularly in the first half. Oregon has had trouble this season with effort and rotation onto outside shooters. Stanford was 7 – 12 (58.3%) from 3-point distance in the first half and had a 42 – 37 lead at the break.
While the Cardinal cooled off considerably in the second half, the Ducks simply could not generate the offense needed to catch up, scoring only 27 points in the second stanza. For the game, the Ducks were only 22 – 58 (37.9%) overall from the field and 10 – 30 (33.3%) from 3-point range. Trying to close the gap in the 2nd half, the Ducks were just 4 – 16 from beyond the arc, frequently settling for a quick, open three hoping to light a fire under the offense. Oregon had a very low number of attempts inside – N’Faly Dante scored only 9 points although he also had 15 rebounds. Dante was frequently double- or even triple-teamed, giving him little room to operate as Stanford didn’t have to respect Oregon’s shooters.
Despite Oregon coming out with better defensive intensity to start the second stanza, Stanford took a 50 – 39 lead early in the half as the Ducks could score on only one of their first five possessions. Oregon had opportunities, but a double-digit deficit can’t be closed if all you’re doing is trading baskets or stops. Virtually every time Oregon made a nice defensive play or Stanford missed a shot, the Ducks could not find a way to take advantage.
The Cardinal was able to maintain their lead and was up 61 – 49 after a basket inside with 3:15 left. Late in the game, Oregon’s bench showed a lack of discipline taking two technical fouls late and giving up 3 free throws as a result – points they could ill afford to give. Oregon did manage to close the final score inside the last 30 seconds on a couple of 3-pointers but by then it was too late.
For the game, Jermaine Couisnard led Oregon with 18 points, but on only 4 – 12 shooting. Rivaldo Soares added 13 on 3 – 5 shooting from 3-point distance and Keeshawn Barthelemy scored 11 off the bench. Dante had 15 rebounds and Will Richardson, Jr. chipped in 5 boards. Couisnard also led the team with 4 assists. Oregon was 10 – 14 from the free throw line.
The Ducks come home for games next week. They will play Colorado on Thursday, January 26 and Utah on Saturday, January 28.