The Oregon State Beavers second-half comeback fell short, and the Oregon Ducks won the second- and most important- Civil War game 74-73 against a team that has given them fits with their 1-3-1 scheme. The Ducks left Corvallis with their 20th win of the season against their bitter rivals on the road. Without any context, a one-point win against a team that was 5-10 in conference play means nothing, but it was a big one for the Ducks.
If the Ducks lost this game, then all hopes of an NCAA Tournament bid would have been crushed. Instead, Dana Altman (most likely the Pac-12 Coach of the Year) still has his squad in a position to make it into the Big Dance. The chances aren’t high, but the stakes are and an opportunity is better than no chance at all.
The Oregon Ducks held Devon Collier to seven points, although he did torch them on the boards to the tune of 11 rebounds. Meanwhile, star Jared Cunningham- some herald as the best player in the conference- had 13 points in a quite game that was slightly disappointing. The Beavers best player that afternoon was guard Ahmad Starks, and he tore it up with team-highs in points (18) and steals (2). Starks went 7-10 from the floor, and only big man Angus Brant had more than 15 points for OSU (16). Both players took five three-pointers, with Starks connecting on four and Brandt on three.
However, the star of the night was Garrett Sim who broke out in a huge way after a slump. He is the most efficient player in the conference and is a deadly shooter, and his 10-14 line last night showed it. The Oregon Ducks shooting guard had a game-high four turnovers, but he also made more shots than anyone else. He reeled off 25 points and was a crisp 4-7 from the three-point line, and the senior sharpshooter is finding his form from a few months ago again.
Only two players on the Oregon Ducks bench scored yesterday, and those two were obviously Olu Ashaolu and Carlos Emory, who combined for 20 points. However, Emory faltered and had just four points on 1-6 shooting, so it was up to Ashaolu to pick up the slack. As usual, his free throw shooting was atrocious (a Shaq-like 6-10), but his rebounding was good (8 boards) and his “normal” shooting (5-8 on FGs) was solid.
The Oregon State Beavers hit 50% of their three-pointers and were the better shooting team, but one free throw separate these two teams. Both the Oregon Ducks and Beavers took 18 free throw attempts, and the Ducks nailed 13 compared to 12 from the home team. The 12-11 turnover differential also favored Oregon.
Both teams had 69 possessions, but the Oregon Ducks made more of them. They were slightly more efficient on the boards, had one less turnover, and that free throw did help them as well. The difference in this game came from all the little things combined, and Oregon ended up with 1.08 points per possession compared to 1.065 from the Beavers in a 74-73 victory for the men from Eugene.
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