Oregon (13-7, Pac-12 3-4) will have a chance to reclaim state bragging rights during Saturday’s conclusion of this season’s Civil War series against the Oregon State Beavers.
The Beavers (11-8, 3-4) won the first matchup on Jan. 5 in Corvallis, Oregon, winning 76-64 over the Ducks. Beaver forward Tres Tinkle led both teams with 19 points, and fellow teammate Stephen Thomas Jr.’s scored his way into the school’s 1,000-career points list with his 16 points.
“That was just a bad game in general,” Oregon guard Payton Pritchard said. Pritchard scored nine points in the game, making just 3-of-10 field goals and 1-of-6 3-point shots against OSU. “We just looked terrible.”
Since their victory, the Beavers have lost three out of their four games. A nine-point loss to No. 17 Arizona, a close two-point defeat to then-ranked No. 11 Arizona State and their latest, most recent fall to USC, 67-74, on Jan 20.
The only game the Beavers did win since playing the Ducks was a six-point victory over the UCLA Bruins.
The Ducks have also had a rough showing since giving the Beavers their first home-court win in the Civil War series since Jan. 3, 2016.
“It goes game to game,” Oregon head coach Dana Altman said. “But we have moved the ball better since then and it’s shown in our point production. … We’ve scored enough points, but I haven’t been particularly pleased with our defense and definitely not our rebounding.”
The Ducks returned from Arizona with both a win and a loss. Starting the road trip off strong, they beat then-No. 11 Arizona State, 76-72, after overcoming a 12-point deficit in the first half. The victory marked Oregon’s first road victory over a No.11 or higher ranked team since Jan. 14, 2007.
The next two games for Oregon resulted in losses. Concluding their road trip with a 90-83 loss to then-No.17 Arizona, the Ducks returned to Eugene to lose, 75-70, against USC on Jan. 18.
“We played four of the more talented teams in the league,” Altman said. “We thought we would be further along. … Looking back, I haven’t done a good job with them. We should be further along, we should have a few more wins in the win column.”
Two days after losing to the Trojans, the Ducks gave Altman his 200th Oregon win in a close 94-91 win over the UCLA Bruins.
“We’re playing a lot better as a team,” Oregon forward MiKyle McIntosh said. “I think understanding how our team could be when we play good and play together. We’re later in the season so we are trying to understand things better and understand each other a lot better.”
The rivals have equal Pac-12 records this season. If Oregon State wins, it will be its first season sweep over the Ducks since the 2009-10 season, and its first win in Eugene since Jan. 29, 2012.
“For all of us players we can’t even worry about the score,” Pritchard said. “We just have to worry about every possession. … If you can win every possession, you can win the game.”
The 350th Civil War battle between the Ducks and the Beavers will tip-off at 5 p.m. on Saturday, at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene.
Follow Maggie Vanoni on Twitter: @maggie_vanoni