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Oregon Stays Put at No. 6, but Takes Back Control of Pac-12

The Ducks were not at the top of their game last week, but managed to earn a couple of invaluable victories

NCAA Basketball: Oregon at California Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

After one half last Wednesday, it looked like Oregon’s struggles on the road were running their course again. The Ducks were down by 14 to California at halftime after only scoring 16 points — their lowest scoring half of the season — and shooting 29.2 percent from the field. It just didn’t look like Oregon’s day, and many were quick to toss that game in the loss column after one half.

Then the Ducks’ comeback started.

Oregon responded to the awful first half with one of the best halves the team has put together all season. The team scored 52 points in the second half — including 17 from Dillon Brooks and 18 from Chris Boucher — while shooting 60 percent from the field. The Ducks scored 19 points in the final four minutes of the game, capped off by a game-winning three from Dillon Brooks, something becoming a lot more familiar these days. After choking a 19-point lead at UCLA a couple weeks before, a comeback victory was a refreshing taste for Oregon.

The Ducks were in much better position at halftime when playing at Stanford on Saturday. They were up 43-37, having led by as many as 12. All Oregon needed was one of its second half surges and this game would be over fairly quickly.

It didn’t turn out this way, as Stanford played one of its best games of the season. Travis Reid finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds, and Dorian Pickens hit 6 threes. Stanford tied the game at 73 apiece with 1:34 remaining.

Right when it looked like Oregon was going to blow it, the team managed to turn the next possession into the only one it needed. The Ducks had four offensive rebounds in the final possession, running down the clock until finally Jordan Bell tipped in a missed shot from Payton Pritchard with 14 seconds left, giving Oregon the 75-73 win. It wasn’t how Oregon envisioned this game going, but the team will take any victory it can get.

Oregon has responded fairly well to poor performances this season. After losing to Georgetown and dropping to 2-2, the Ducks went on a school record 17-game winning streak, with thirteen of those wins being by double-digits.

Oregon also bounced back from a poor three game stretch against Utah, Colorado, and Arizona State with the team’s most impressive win of the season over Arizona. These last two games didn’t finish exactly the way Oregon wanted them, but fans hope it means that the team has some dominating performances on the horizon. Tight victories will also give this already experienced Oregon team even more practice in close-game situations going into the postseason.

Oregon was also the beneficiary of an Arizona loss to UCLA on Saturday. The Arizona loss put the Ducks back on top of the Pac-12, putting them in perfect position to go into the conference tournament as the top seed. All the Ducks need to do is take care of business against Oregon State (something just about everyone has been able to do this season) and they’ll finish the season at the top of the Pac-12 for the second year in a row.