The Ducks basketball team came back to their home turf on Saturday to play the #20 Washington Huskies. The game was a close one, but in the end, the Ducks came out victorious beating the Huskies 81-76. Ducks coach Dana Altman credits the win on the outstanding passing and Washington’s poor wavering offense during the second half of the game.
The season is now past the halfway mark in the PAC-10 standings. The Ducks have won 4 of their 6 games and Joevan Catron is once again heralded for bringing his team alive. Catron has improved with 16 points and 6 rebounds a game. The defensive double team magnet is ranked fifth in PAC-10 play. He is definitely a force to be reckoned with.
This was a due or die game for the Huskies as far as standings go. Their key player, junior guard Isaiah Thomas was not able to pull out a win for the team. He averaged 18 points per game up to now, but the Ducks were able to keep him from showing off his impeccable moves. He was only able to score 7 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists.
The key strategies for Washington was to be strong with the ball and show some of the excellent defense that they are so good at. While, Oregon focused on fighting the Huskie dribble and transitioning their defense.
Washington started the game off with a 2 pointer and shortly thereafter screened the zone for another 2 points. It wasn’t too long after, when Coach Altman called a time out. Luckily, this time he didnt take 80% of his players out like he had at last weekend losing game against CAL. The Huskie defense was hard to break through in these first minutes of the game. However, the Ducks were able to score a number 3 pointers by E.J. Singler, J.R. Strowbridge and Garret Sim. The Huskies were dunking most of their free throws, but were still trailing 20-13 with a little over 10 minutes left in the first half.
The Ducks were able to hold their defense at the bottom of the first half. Washington hustled to gain ground over the Ducks when sophomore Center Aziz N’Diaye made a 2 slam jam along with senior Forward Justin Holiday’s 2 points from the backside. This still did not deter Oregon from trailing ahead. Washington had committed 10 turnovers so the Ducks were looking to exploit that every chance that they got. In fact, Oregon did so well with passing against the Huskies that they were able to hold them off by three points. At halftime the score was 37-34.
Oregon had an 18-2 advantage in points off turns with 6 steals. During the second half Washington’s Thomas turned up the heat a bit when he hit a 3 pointer and tied the score 37-37. It didn’t take long however for Catron to step it up and deliver a 2 pointer. The Ducks increased the pressure on Washington, boxing them out on the free throw line. Then out of nowhere, Thomas knocked down a 3 pointer and the Huskies would finally take the lead by one point (43-42). However, that lead would not last long when E.J. Singler put in a 3 pointer, putting the score back into a tie at 45-45.
The Ducks would soon gain feet. J.R. Strowbridge bounced back 2 and Catron along with Garrett Sim would both score 3 pointers. The Huskies relied heavily on Thomas because they needed to get the ball in the basket. Unfortunately, for the Ducks he just was not able to make the adjustments that were needed to win the game. The Ducks win means that they are back in the saddle again winning five out of their last seven games and knocking Washington into third place.