GAME NOTES: The Oregon Ducks shoot for their third straight victory on Sunday, as they battle the Washington State Cougars in Pac-12 Conference action at Matthew Knight Arena.
Washington State will be playing in the second part of a three-game road trip in this contest. The first stop ended in a 68-57 loss, the fifth straight and 10th in the last 11 games for the Cougars, who are just 9-17 overall and 2-12 in league play this season. They will play their final road game of the campaign next against in-state rival Washington.
Led Mike Moser's 20 points, Oregon was able to collect a 78-71 win over Washington on Wednesday night. The victory followed a 93-83 triumph over Oregon State for the Ducks, who are still in the depths of the Pac-12 standings (5-8), despite their solid overall record (17-8). They visit 23rd- ranked UCLA and USC in their final two road games next.
The first meeting between these two teams this season was far from competitive, as the Ducks soared to a 71-44 victory, earning their sixth straight win against the Cougars. As a result, Oregon's lead in the all-time series improved to 163-123.
On Thursday night, the Cougars shot 42.9 percent from the floor, while limiting Oregon State to 41.7 percent. However, that advantage was one of very few Washington State enjoyed as it was outscored from the free-throw line (25-16), in the paint (32-16) and off turnovers (15-4).
Just about every loss the Cougars have suffered this season can be traced back to their misery at the offensive end of the court. They are last in the Pac-12 in scoring (62.6 ppg), assists (10.7 apg) and field goal percentage (.409). Not helping matters is their inability to clean the glass, as they are last in the conference in rebounding as well. DaVonte Lacy (19.3 ppg) is a potent scorer, but he doesn't get the support he needs. Lacy finished with a game- high 18 points against Oregon State, despite sinking just 4-of-12 from the field. D.J. Shelton (9.8 ppg, 9.1 rpg) is the team's only real threat on the boards. He had 10 points and 11 rebounds on Thursday.
Oregon simply executed better on offense to earn its recent win over Washington. The Ducks connected on 56.9 percent of their shots from the field in the victory, while limiting the Huskies to 43.6 percent. Their superior shooting allowed them to overcome a 33-21 deficit on the boards.
Even though league play has had its fair share of ups and downs for the Ducks, they have remained one of the top offensive teams in the Pac-12. They are first in the conference and ninth in the nation in scoring (83.5 ppg), while connecting on 47.1 percent of their field goal attempts. Joseph Young (18.6 ppg) is the primary scoring option, connecting on a career-high 48.8 percent from the floor this season. He finished with 18 points against Washington to add to the third-best scoring mark in the Pac-12. Moser (13 ppg, 7.2 rpg) has reached double figures in three straight games, after failing to do so in five of the previous six. Also in the mix are Jason Calliste (11.8 ppg) and Damyean Dotson (10.7 ppg).
Simply put, the Ducks can score and the Cougars cannot. Earning a victory in this contest should also be relatively simple for Oregon.
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