Oregon (12-5) at Washington (12-4) – Charlotte Observer
GAME NOTES: The Washington Huskies were finally able to snap a four-game losing streak in their last outing, and now they’ll try and put consecutive wins together as they host the Oregon Ducks in a Pac-12 clash at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Washington enters the fray with a 12-4 record after winning its first 11 games of the season. The Huskies dropped four straight games after those 11 wins to fall from the nation’s Top-25, but the team got back in the win column with a 56-43 victory over Oregon State on Thursday.
Oregon fell to Washington State in a heartbreaking 108-99 overtime defeat on Thursday, which means the Ducks have lost games in two of their last three outings. Still, Oregon sports a 12-5 record with a 2-2 mark in Pac-12 play.
These two rivals and border neighbors have met 297 times on the court, with Washington owning a 188-109 all-time lead over Oregon. But it was the Ducks who won the last meeting, a 78-71 decision in Eugene last February.
Washington State took a 57-52 lead into halftime over Oregon in the team’s last contest, but the Ducks were able to connect on 57.1 percent of their field goal tries in the second half to knot things up at 94-94 at the end of regulation. The Cougars were not phased by giving up the lead in the second half, as they buried 12-of-14 from the free-throw line in overtime to claim the victory. Joseph Young tallied 32 points on 13-of-25 shooting to lead the Ducks in scoring, while Elgin Cook collected a double-double of 26 points and 10 rebounds. Jalil Abdul-Bassit came off the bench to chip in 12 points before fouling out in the loss.
Young has been extremely impressive in the first half of the basketball season for the Ducks, entering Sunday’s contest leading the team and the conference in scoring at 20.1 ppg. The guard also tops the squad in assists, having dished out 64 already. Dillon Brooks (13.4 ppg) and Cook (12.0 ppg) round out a trio of double-digit scorers for the Ducks in their 17 games played. Oregon has been dominant offensively this season, leading the Pac-12 in scoring offense at 77.8 ppg, knocking down an impressive 45.6 percent of their shots from the field. But the team has also been giving up 70.1 ppg to opponents as well.
It wasn’t the prettiest win for Washington on Thursday against Oregon State, but the Huskies were finally able to pick up the W to end a four-game losing streak, and that’s what mattered the most. Washington held Oregon State to 31.9 percent shooting from the floor in the game, and forced 15 Beavers turnovers. Robert Upshaw scored 12 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for the double-double, while Andrew Andrews also added 12 points for the Huskies. Mike Anderson scored all 11 of his points in the second half, and Nigel Williams- Goss dished out seven assists in the win.
The first half of the season was kind to Williams-Goss, who has been one of the more reliable players in the conference. The guard leads Washington in scoring this season at 14.3 ppg, adding in a team-best and Pac-12 leading 6.7 apg. Andrews follows up Williams-Goss’s scoring total at 11.9 ppg, though he’s shooting just 34.8 percent from the floor this season. Upshaw (11.1 ppg, team- best 8.0 rpg) is third on Washington in scoring, and Shawn Kemp Jr. (10.4 ppg) round out a group of double-digit scorers for the Huskies, who are averaging 69.9 ppg this season and are holding opponents to 61.0 ppg.
Oregon may have fallen in two of its last three games, but the Ducks had won six games in a row prior to their last three outings. Washington will have to put up a better offensive showing if it wants to keep pace with Oregon’s scoring output.