Men's BasketballSports

Road warriors: Ducks beat Washington schools

Jack Hunter

For the first time in almost a decade, the Oregon men’s basketball team (10-4) went on the road to sweep both of the Washington schools, as they shocked the No. 17 Huskies 90-79 on Saturday night.

Sophomore center Michael Dunigan had another strong outing for the Ducks, going 7-of-10 from the field for 20 points and pulled 14 boards — 11 defensive and three offensive — in his 28 minutes of action. Dunigan was the only player in the game to grab more than six rebounds individually and provided the Ducks with his second straight double-double.

“It is great to win a game like this,” said 13th-year head coach Ernie Kent. “We have not won up here for so long.”

Following a 15-2 run late in the first half, Oregon headed into the locker room up 42-41. The Ducks came out firing with a pair of jumpers from freshman Jamil Wilson and another bucket from sophomore point guard Malcolm Armstead to put the team up 50-42 just under three minutes into the second half. Armstead continues to impress with a team-high 21 points, six assists and three steals, while fellow point guard Tajuan Porter chipped in 16 points and four assists on 4-of-8 shooting from three-point land.

“It was a good win,” Armstead said. “We had good energy and we had good focus. We kept our composure and we were able to capitalize on the little mistakes they made.”

Husky guard Isaiah Thomas led all scorers with 25 points, shooting 11-of-12 from the free throw line.

The night before, Oregon overcame a huge bucket by Washington State’s DeAngelo Casto with 0.3 seconds remaining in overtime. The score appeared to seal the Cougar victory, but when members of the WSU bench came running onto the court in celebration with time still left on the clock, they were given a technical foul, sending Porter to the free throw line.
Porter calmly sank both and sent the game into overtime. The first overtime wasn’t enough, and the game was sent into a second overtime. With the score knotted at 89-89, Armstead took the ball at the top of the key, shook his defender and hit a soft layup off the glass as time expired.

Porter scored 18 of his season-high 31 points in two overtimes in just his second game back after missing four games with an ankle injury.

“I just took what the defense gave me,” Porter said. “This is real big for this team.”

Armstead finished with 16 points and seven assists during his team-high 44 minutes, and Dunigan scored 22 points to go along with his 12 boards, five blocks and two steals. Oregon outrebounded Washington State 42-38, though it reached the foul line only 16 times compared to 42 trips for the Cougars.

With the two wins this weekend, Oregon has already surpassed its win total from last season and sits atop the Pacific-10 Conference tied with USC. The Ducks’ two conference wins match their total from last season, 68-60 over Stanford on Feb. 21 and 79-69 over Oregon State on March 1.

“I can’t tell you where this team’s destiny is at right now,” Kent said. “They are such a great group of guys; they have so much potential. They are in a great place right now.”

Notes: After falling 81-76 to Saint Mary’s on Dec. 16, the Ducks have picked up six straight wins — Mississippi Valley State, Oakland, Idaho State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Washington State and Washington — and will look to take that streak into McArthur Court when the Oregon State Beavers visit on Sunday afternoon.

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