Ducks Find Balance Get Win in Vegas

LAS VEGAS – The Oregon Ducks relied on four players to score in double figures and a terrific pressure defense to down Oregon State 88-74 in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference Men's Basketball Tournament.

(PHOTO) Oregon Ducks guard Joseph Young (3) shoots against the Oregon State Beavers during the second half in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference Tournament at MGM Grand Garden Arena. The Ducks defeated the Beavers 88-74. (Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

Joseph Young was the leading scorer for the Ducks hitting 19 points, with 15 of those points coming in the second half. Young was 8-for-11 including a three pointer that put the dagger into the Beavers' heart. Jason Calliste added 17 hitting 4-of-5 shots including 3-of-4 three pointers. Mike Moser, finished 13 and Dominic Artis shook off some rust and added 10 points.

"Well, it was kind of an offensive game," said Oregon Head Coach Dana Altman. "We got them to turn the ball over a little bit, and I think that was the 14-point advantage was our points off turnovers."

Early on it looked like the Ducks would be in for a mighty struggle as they fell behind by nine early on but an aggressive defense caused the Beavers to miss shots and in a little over six minutes the Ducks erased the 9-0 deficit and tied the game 15 all. From that point except for the first five minutes of the second half when the lead see-sawed back and forth, Oregon controlled the game.

"We were just a little more focused and paying attention to detail, guarding a little better," observed senior guard Jason Calliste of the difference between the first and second halves. "Everybody just played their part and got it done."

With 11:47 left in the game, Young went to the basket and scored. He continued the same routine three straight possessions and Oregon was up by 10, 69-59. With 9:04 Oregon State's Craig Robinson called timeout but it was clear the Beavers were having second thoughts about what to do with Young.

Following the timeout Young drove to the hoop again and drew a foul but missed both free throws. To show how things were going for the Beavers, the ball goes off a Beaver player and the Ducks get another chance. Artis was fouled on a non-shooting call and Young follows up by scoring off a great assist from Ben Carter and the Ducks had their biggest lead of the night at 71-59.

The game clock then started to become Oregon State's biggest enemy and when Altman called a timeout with 4:07 left in the game and the Ducks up by 11. OS came back out with a high trap with three of their big men trying to trap Oregon ball handlers against the midcourt line. The strategy failed though as the Ducks found Young who went behind a Carter screen and drilled a three point shot building Oregon's lead to 81-67.

From that point on Calliste, Moser, Artis and Carter all had a hand in what turned out to be an Oregon romp. Oregon Head Coach Dana Altman cleared his bench in the final minute to signify the game was done and Oregon ended up winning 88-74.

"It really helps that D.A. (Dominic Artis) got those minutes and got his head up," commented Altman. Bent (Carter) got those minutes and hot his head up. If we can count on D.A. for 20 and Ben for 20 and play that well, it really helps."

The Beavers also had four players in double figures with Angus Brandt leading the way with 20 and Roberto Nelson adding 19. Hallice Cooke added 12 and Devon Collier had 11 before fouling out.

Overall the Ducks shot 57.7 percent in field goal shooting on 30-for-52 shooting including 10-for-16 in threes. Oregon State shot 60.5 percent on 23-of-38 shooting but were only 3-for-6 in threes. Oregon State was 25-for-36 in free throw shooting to Oregon's 18-for-28. Both teams ended up with 24 rebouds although Oregon had 11 offensive boards to OS' seven. The Ducks had 15 assists to the Beavers seven and the most glaring statistic for OS was 15 turnovers to Oregon's five.

Oregon will play UCLA tomorrow at approximately 6:06 p.m. and the game will be carried on the Pac-12 Networks.

"UCLA is the most gited offensive team in our league," concluded Altman about tomorrow night's game. "They've got a lot of guys who can score.'

Altman though went on to say that while UCLA is a big obstacle, he is happy that his charges could spread the work load around on Wednesday night.

"I like the fact we didn't have to kill anybody tonight with extra minutes. I thought we spread them out pretty good. I thought we showed our depth."

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