Since an early season loss to Georgetown, the Oregon Ducks Men’s Basketball Team has been on a rampage, dismantling whichever team stands in front of them.
Last Thursday, the Ducks hosted Cal at home (which was suspected to be a close game, considering that the Bears had barely lost to top ranked teams such as Arizona, UCLA, and Virginia). Meanwhile, Oregon was looking for their 15th straight win (tying a 104 year old school record), while pushing their home win streak to 37 games.
Early on in the first half, the Oregon Ducks and Cal Bears zoomed down the court exchanging shot for shot, keeping it a very close game. Of course, that was until the 9:30 mark of the half, when the Ducks’ offense exploded, quickly making it a 13-point game. For the rest of the half, Oregon managed to keep their offense churning with Jordan Bell, Casey Benson (who was 5-5 on three point shots), and Tyler Dorsey. However, right before heading into halftime with a 14-point lead, All-American Dillon Brooks seemed to roll his left ankle and immediately left the game.
Heading into the second half against the mighty Cal Bears, there was an uneasiness and concern over the status of the Ducks’ leader, Brooks. Knowing that this was a key loss for the Ducks, Cal came into the second half with a vengeance and determination to get back in the game. For the first four minutes of the half, the Ducks did not make a single basket, while Cal had cut Oregon’s lead to just eight points (which made Ducks’ Head Coach Dana Altman furious, swiftly calling a timeout).
Following the timeout, the Ducks realized that they needed a spark to get Matt Knight Arena rocking again. Oregon seemed to find their groove, hitting pretty much every shot they took, while Cal seemed stunned, losing their offensive production. The Ducks would go on to tie the 104-year-old school record with their 15th consecutive win by a score of 86-63.
But it was not all sunshine and rainbows; the Ducks still had work to do on Saturday (looking to break that school record and stay perfect at home) and many Duck fans still felt uneasy about the status of leader Dillon Brooks.
After finding out that Brooks had a minor ankle sprain, the Ducks looked as hungry as ever warming up for a big tilt against the Stanford Cardinal. But one question remained, how would the Ducks come out and look without their leader Brooks? Well that question would soon be answered after the Cardinal jumped out to a swift 5-0 lead in the first minute and a half.
But that quick lead by Stanford only seemed to wake the Oregon’s starting five, which soon got back into the rhythm of putting on a show in front of a sold out home crowd. For the rest of the fist half, the Oregon Ducks took advantage of a stalling Stanford offense (also combined with great defensive play) and pushed the pace, leading to a 39-22 score at the half.
Coming out of halftime, things were not much different as Stanford fell apart (not scoring, getting dunked on, and having two players foul out). The Ducks continued to play strong on both sides of the ball and embarrassed the Cardinal.
When it was all said and done, the Oregon Ducks found themselves winning by 17 points (69-52), breaking that coveted 104 year old school record with 16 straight wins. The Ducks also extended their home game-winning streak to 38 games (which falls second on active home game winning streaks, behind Kansas who holds 53 home wins).
With the two quality wins last week, the Oregon Ducks increased their national rank in the AP Poll, coming in at 10 (behind other Pac-12 foes UCLA (8) and Arizona (7)). Furthermore, the Ducks still atop the Pac-12 standings tied with Arizona for the exclusive number one spot.
This week, the Ducks will first head on the road to play a good Utah team (who has only lost five games this year and is 4th in the Pac-12 Standings). Then, they will fly into Boulder, Colorado to take on the Buffaloes, who are winless in Pac-12 play. It is expected that Dillon Brooks will once again not play due to an ankle injury sustained versus Cal.