GAME NOTES: Intrastate rivals will collide on Sunday when the Oregon Ducks tangle with the Oregon State Beavers at Gill Coliseum in a Pac-12 Conference clash.
The Ducks, who rose as high as No. 10 in the national rankings this season, have been stuck in reverse of late, with losses in three straight games. They are still sporting a 13-3 mark overall, but at just 1-3 in league play, they have work to do to get back into the Pac-12 title chase. This game begins a three-game road trip for Oregon, which continues against Washington on Thursday.
Sunday's contest is the finale of a three-game homestand for the Beavers, who split the first two bouts, with a win over Stanford (81-72) and a loss to California (88-83). They have lost three of their last four games and are currently sitting at 9-7 overall. Next on the schedule is a road date against Washington State.
Although Oregon State leads the all-time series 184-155, Oregon has had the upper hand recently, with wins in six of the last seven meetings, including a season sweep a year ago.
Oregon did not show the composure it usually has at home against Stanford. The Ducks had twice as many turnovers (15) as the Cardinal (seven), while being outscored 20-13 off of those miscues. Mike Moser scored 24 points to lead the squad in the losing effort.
Scoring is rarely the issue for Oregon, with the team ranked second nationally at 88.4 ppg. The Ducks are also among the top 25 teams in the nation in field goal percentage (.491) and assists (16.1 apg). Joseph Young (18.8 ppg) and Moser (14.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg), who both transferred to Oregon, are the leaders offensively. Young has connected on 51.6 percent of his shots from the field, but he had just five points on 1-of-7 shooting against Stanford. Damyean Dotson (11.4 ppg) and Jason Calliste (10.8 ppg) combine with Young to form one of the better backcourts in the conference.
Ball control was also a major issue for Oregon State in its loss to California. The Beavers coughed the ball up 13 times, while forcing only five miscues from the Golden Bears. The setback came despite strong efforts from Roberto Nelson (26 points, nine assists), Angus Brandt (22 points) and Eric Moreland (14 points, 11 rebounds).
The Beavers are also a strong offensive team. They are dropping in 77.8 ppg and shooting at a 49.7 percent clip from the floor, which ranks seventh in the country. Leading the way for the team is Nelson (21.3 ppg, 4 apg), who is actually the top scoring threat in the conference as well. He has had at least 20 points in three of the last four games and has also shown real strength as a passer. Devon Collier (14.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg) is another fine scorer, who is shooting 62.7 percent from the field. However, he was limited to just four points in 14 minutes off the bench against California. Brandt (12.3 ppg) is the third and final player on the team averaging in double figures.
The Ducks are just too good to continue their run of futility. Although the Beavers are a solid home team (7-2), Oregon's backcourt depth will be enough of an advantage for it to win on the road.
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