With two days to either dwell or recover from Thursday’s brutal overtime loss to UCLA, which saw Oregon blow a nine point lead with under a minute to play, Sunday’s game against USC had the potential to bury the Ducks.
Instead, the Ducks came out hot, hitting their first shot, a Louis King 3-pointer, and never looking back.
They went on to dismantle USC, leading for all but the first 17 seconds of the game in an 81-60 win over the Trojans.
“The very next day [following the loss] at our practice [head coach Dana Altman] was kind of spewing out all different kinds of quotes but the message of it was, ‘Things happen and we’ve got to move on,’” redshirt senior Paul White said. “At the end of the day, I’m proud of my team and the way that we responded.”
Outside of a four minute scoring drought early in the first half, Oregon’s offense was dominant. King and White, 19 points each, carried the Ducks’ offense, especially in the first half where they accounted for 28 of Oregon’s 36 points.
“Paul and Louis were really good,” Altman said. “They really hit shots and made plays and I thought both of them played hard as well.”
King continued to be a force offensively for the Ducks. Fresh off a career high 22 points against UCLA, the freshman was +30 in the most complete game of his young Oregon career, scoring 19 points (8-13 shooting), assisting six times and securing eight rebounds.
“Louis has been great, ever since he came back,” White said. “I think people are really starting to see the talent that he is, the steps that he’s taken. … I’m happy for him and I know that our team really needs that kind of production.”
When the ball wasn’t going through King, White kept the offense rolling. White, also coming off a then-season high 16 point performance, utilized his 3-point shot and the free throw line to put up 19 points, tying his career high.
“I thought he did a great job picking and choosing,” Altman said. “He took five threes and hit three of them, which helps anybody. He got some rebounds but I thought he was solid in all aspects.”
Another good sign for the Ducks was that Payton Pritchard (nine points) ended his shooting drought early in the first half. Pritchard hit a three pointer four minutes into the game to end an 0-8 streak, which began in the Oregon State game and spanned over 45 minutes of game time.
Oregon will head south to take on the Arizona schools this upcoming week, looking to move to 3-2 in Pac-12 play, facing Arizona on Thursday and then Arizona State on Saturday.
“Coach talked to us about keeping the energy up, and a win like this is definitely good for us,” Victor Bailey Jr. said. “I think going into Arizona State and Arizona we just have to stick with the same energy.”
Follow Maverick Pallack on Twitter @mavpallack