Oregon ready to resume its season vs. Washington State

NCAA Men's Basketball

Oregon’s on-again, off-again basketball season is ready to resume.

After their second coronavirus-related shutdown since the start of January, the Ducks are scheduled to play host to Washington State in a Pac-12 game Thursday night in Eugene, Ore.

The Ducks (9-3 overall, 4-2 Pac-12) have had five of their past six games postponed — Arizona and Arizona State at home and a three-game trip to USC and UCLA. It was the second time their game against conference-leading UCLA game was pushed back, which was originally scheduled for Eugene but then moved to Los Angeles.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes is always our top priority, and we are grateful to our medical team for guiding us through this process,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said in a statement released by the school.

Oregon has played just once since Jan. 9, a 75-64 loss to rival Oregon State on Jan. 23 that snapped the Ducks’ 28-game home winning streak and knocked them out of the Top 25. Leading scorer Chris Duarte and swingman LJ Figueroa missed that game due to COVID-19 protocols.

Duarte, who is third in the Pac-12 in scoring with 18.4 points per game and leads the conference in both steals (2.5) and 3-pointers made (2.8), was named last month to the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award’s top-10 list. He was the only Pac-12 player to make the watch list.

The rebuilding Cougars (10-7, 3-7), who often start three freshmen, snapped a six-game losing streak Sunday with a 77-62 victory at Washington.

Isaac Bonton returned after missing last week’s game against Colorado with the flu and scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half, and Noah Williams, playing in his hometown of Seattle, added 21 points.

“It’s always great to get a win, especially when you’ve got a (losing) streak going on,” said Bonton, who is second in the conference in scoring with an average of 18.5 points. “We’ve gotten tested a lot of ways mentally, so it’s good to get back on the other side.”

Efe Abogidi added 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Cougars.

“When he’s wound up and playing hard, good things happen,” Washington State coach Kyle Smith said.

Smith, in just his second season, improved to 6-0 against Washington and the two Oregon schools and is 13-0 against opponents from the Pacific Northwest — including schools from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

–Field Level Media

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