Ducks can’t win on historic night
The orange and lightning yellow clashed spectacularly Sunday night in the last men’s Civil War to ever be played at McArthur Court.
In a night primed for something special to happen with former Oregon point guard Terrell Brandon on hand to get his jersey retired, and the entire crowd primed to see their 2-0 Ducks beat the Beavers for the 19th time in a row at McArthur Court, the special ending never came.
Brandon got his standing ovation, but the Beavers got the final ovation from a section of Oregon State fans nestled up at the very top of Mac Court in section 328. The Beavers, coming off a 51-point loss to Seattle University on Wednesday, won 64-57 to snap a losing streak in Eugene that dated all the way back to March 6, 1993.
“The guys took that loss to heart,” second-year Beaver head coach Craig Robinson said of Wednesday’s defeat. “There wasn’t any extra motivation in that locker room from me. Those guys care about what’s going on here. They’ve had years and years and years of futility here and they wanted to do well here.”
“It’s gotta be special for these guys because they’ve lost here their whole lives,” Robinson added.
The Beavers (7-8, 1-2) defeated the Ducks (10-5, 2-1) by jumping on Oregon early with a mixture of trapping and fast-paced scoring. Oregon was down 8-0 to start the game and had nine turnovers at halftime.
“It was a shock to all of us, and we had a couple of turnovers and we had to play catch up the whole game,” Oregon guard Tajuan Porter said of the Beaver trap defense. Porter finished with 20 points, but it took him 20 shots to do it on a night where every loose ball and shot went Oregon State’s way.
“They out-toughed us … they played up,” Porter said. “Civil War game and the records go out the window.”
The inspired play of the Beavers, led by 15 points and eight rebounds from forward Daniel Deane, was a stark contrast to their play on Wednesday night. Robinson was able to refocus the team with a 5:30 a.m. practice Thursday morning, followed by a 9:30 p.m. practice after they came into Eugene on Saturday.
“It was taking ownership for what happened on Wednesday and fixing for Sunday,” Robinson explained. “I thought, based on our practices, we would play better than we did on Wednesday.”
They sure did. The Beavers held the Ducks, who had scored 91 and 90 points in their last two games, to 35.2 percent shooting and 57 points. Deane, who hit four key free throws in the closing minutes, frustrated the Ducks’ big men and blocked Porter on a drive to the basket with the score within five points.
“He didn’t do it just by scoring,” Robinson said of the transfer from the University of Utah. “He had that big block on Porter. He’s maturing and settling down.”
“They had everything working for them,” Oregon coach Ernie Kent said.
Kent said that the trap forced the Ducks into too many turnovers early on, and although the Beavers actually had more turnovers at the end of the game (14-12), it was that early hole that sealed the deal.
“We had some lessons learned, and hopefully they will take them to heart because we did not play the focused basketball we have been playing our last five or six ball games,” Kent said.
From here, both teams play the Arizona schools starting on Thursday, with the Ducks facing Arizona State and the Beavers hosting Arizona. It’s a short week, but Robinson hopes that the breakthrough win will help the Beavers turn the corner in conference play.
“If you can pick up a couple on the road, you put yourself in a position to be doing some things to finish the season,” Robinson said.
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