The good and the bad of an Oregon win and a loss against the Bay Area Pac-12 schools last weekend:
Good — The Ducks (18-5, 7-3 Pac-12) remain tied for first place in the conference. Bad — Oregon went almost 10 minutes in a Feb. 1 loss at Stanford without a made basket, had a four-game winning streak stopped and dropped three spots in the rankings to No. 14.
Oregon hopes to start a new winning streak on Saturday night. The Ducks begin a regular-season-ending stretch of six of their last eight games in the state of Oregon when they take on archival Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore.
It will be the 353rd meeting between the two schools in the basketball version of what’s known locally as the Civil War, which makes it the most contested rivalry in NCAA basketball.
“Defense. We’re going to have to bend our knees and get stops. It starts there,” assistant coach Mike Mennenga said on the Oregon coaches’ show. “‘Civil War’ game, we’re going to rely on our vets to talk to the young guys about what this is about. It’s a 40-minute fight.”
With Oregon’s next win, coach Dana Altman will tie John Wooden for 28th place on the NCAA Division I coaching wins list. Altman has 663 career wins, and Wooden won 664 games in his legendary career with Indiana State and UCLA.
National player of the year candidate Payton Pritchard’s next start will be his 133rd at Oregon, which will be a school record. This week, Pritchard was one of 20 players nationally named to the Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 Watch List and is also one of 10 final candidates for the 2020 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award.
Pritchard entered this week as the conference’s leading scorer at 19.6 points per game and leader in assists at 5.8 per game. His next win with the Ducks will be the 100th of his college career, which will extend his school record.
Guard Chris Duarte has come on of late, averaging almost 22 points a game over his last four.
All three of Oregon’s conference losses have come on the road, and Gill Coliseum has long been a tough place to play for the Ducks. The Beavers (13-9, 3-7) are 103-64 in Civil War games played in Corvallis, and Oregon State has won two straight at home in the series and three of four overall.
That said, the Beavers have lost five of their past six games and have largely fallen short of expectations in conference play.
Leading scorer Tres Tinkle averages 19.2 points per game and is closing in on the school’s all-time scoring record. Currently in second place, the senior needs 89 points to pass former NBA star Gary Payton.
Tinkle and Ethan Thompson (15.1 ppg) are the main offensive threats for Oregon State, which hopes to get more consistency out of some reserves.
“Now if we can get five or six guys going consistently night in, night out on both ends, I think we’ll get to where we’re hitting our stride,” coach Wayne Tinkle told The Oregonian.
–Field Level Media