EUGENE - Oregon begins the repeat portion of its schedule this week. Unfortunately for the Ducks, they'll be seeking vengeance in five of the those seven games. Sunday's Civil War will be no different.
The Ducks dropped the Jan. 19 meeting with the Beavers at Gill Coliseum 80-72. OSU held complete control from start to finish on that night, surrendering just one lead to the Ducks, at 2-0, before running away from their in-state rivals.
"I don't think it was one thing that hurt us in that game," said assistant coach Tony Stubblefield. "I think it was multiple things that hurt us."
Stubblefield, who fielded question in head coach Dana Altman's place Friday (Altman's return trip from the east coast was delayed), said the key will be to play a "full 40 minutes".
While that might sound cliche, it's been a problem for the Ducks over the course of the losing streak. The Ducks have held late leads in each of their last four losses before falling apart at the end. But, maybe even more symptomatic of the issue at hand was the first 20 minutes against Arizona State on Saturday, where the Sun Devils outscored them by 20.
Still, Oregon has tried to combat the late game struggles in this week's practice. With just one-game, the Ducks have had an extended break, and have devoted practice time specifically to late game situations.
Guard Joseph Young said Altman has put five minutes on the clock and challenged his team to "play like men," rather than "keep their heads down".
"We've been there done that. We know what it's like to lose, we've just got to play like its our last game," Young said.
The Ducks leading scorer said each of the close losses, the last three but just two points a piece, have been the result of different issues, whether it's rebounding or defensive or offensive execution.
Young believes the Ducks are a different team from last month's defeat, citing improved team chemistry.
"We're coming out with a different mentality. I remember the last time we played them, we felt like we were a team, but we weren't the team that we are now," Young said. "I feel like the last game we played OSU, everyone was trying to get there own. These last few practices, everyone has been trying to find each other."
With their backs up against the wall, the Ducks have installed more frequent pressure defenses, including full-court pressure which was instrumental in Saturday's rally and their win over USC.
Senior Johnathan Loyd alluded to the fact that the Ducks might just amp it up to a different level from here on out.
"It's proven to be a big weapon for us, so I think we've got to utilize it a little more," he said. "That's something I think we're going to start using a lot."
The next logical question is how much is too much?
Could the Ducks maintain the same level of defensive intensity for the majority of the game and stay productive?
The team is built in such away that yes might just be the answer. Oregon has almost too many guards to deal with, and without a true lane-filler, it might be to their advantage to increase the game's tempo.
However, Stubblefield wouldn't tip the team's hand Friday.
"I don't know if we can necessarily press for 30 or 35 minutes. Whatever we do we want to be sound and do it very well," he said.
Projected Starting Lineups
Oregon State (13-10, 5-6)
PG-Hallice Cooke (6-3, 185) 7.5 points per game, 2.0 assists per game.
SG-Roberto Nelson (6-4, 198) 21.5 points per game, 3.7 assists per game.
SF-Langston Morris-Walker (6-5, 216) 3.7 points per game, 2.1 rebounds per game.
PF-Eric Moreland (6-10, 218) 7.9 points per game, 9.7 rebounds per game.
C-Angus Brandt- (6-10, 246) 12.6 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game.
Oregon (15-8, 3-8)
PG-Dominic Artis (6-1, 186) 5.4 points per game, 2.6 assists per game.
SG-Joseph Young (6-2, 185) 18.4 points per game, 3.2 rebounds per game.
SF-Damyean Dotson (6-5, 209) 10.3 points per game 3.6 rebounds per game
PF-Mike Moser (6-8, 211) 12.6 points per game, 7.3 rebonds per game.
C- Richard Amardi (6-8, 224) 7.6 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game.
The Ducks and Beavers tip Sunday at 12 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox Sports One with Aaron Goldsmith and Luke Walton on the call.