Eugene, OR – The Oregon Ducks came into this afternoon’s game against Cal as winners of ten of their last eleven games and figured to have a relatively easy game against a Cal Bears team that was 3-11 in Pac-12 games. That’s not how things turned out as the Ducks reverted to their early season offensive inefficiency issues. After a quick start the Ducks’ offense went dormant as Cal coasted to a surprisingly easy 78-64 upset win at Matthew Knight Arena on Saturday afternoon. Cal’s Jordan Shepherd led the game in scoring with 33 points and added seven rebounds.
Oregon has had occasions this season where their ball movement is bad, their offense goes stagnant and they can’t seem to make a shot. It happened a lot in the early part of the season when they were struggling and hasn’t happened as much lately, However, in the Stanford game on Thursday night they had a scoring drought of over six minutes but were able to get through it and win the game. It resurfaced today, when after getting out to an early seven-point lead, they didn’t score eight minutes and 38 seconds. During that time, they missed ten straight shots and committed four turnovers, Over that span Cal scored 24 straight points and took a 29-12 lead.
The Ducks never got it together the rest of the half as the Bears took a surprising 38-22 lead into the break. Oregon shot 1-of-13 on 3s and 34.5 percent overall. Cal was very efficient on offense, hitting 55.6 percent of their shots. The 6-4 senior transfer Shepherd was the most effective. Shepherd, with his third school after stops at Charlotte and Oklahoma, scored 13 first half points and ended the half with an emphatic transition dunk. He connected on 5-of-7 shots in the half and added four rebounds and two steals. His dunk came after Oregon’s Jacob Young missed the front end of a one-and-one. Young was among the most ineffective Ducks in the half, going scoreless in 17 minutes, missing three shots from the field and the one from the foul line. Will Richardson continued his shooting struggles that surfaced on Thursday night. Richardson’s only basket came after inside penetration. He missed his other four shots from the field including three 3s and committed four turnovers.
The second half didn’t start any better on the offensive end for the Ducks. They missed their first nine shots from the field and didn’t make a field goal for the first eight minutes and 21 seconds of the half. They stayed in the game by drawing fouls and getting to the foul line 14 times over that period. The rest of the half continued in the same pattern with the Ducks not making shots until close to the end of the game, when the outcome was obvious. Cal maintained at least a 12-point lead throughout the half.
Richardson was the only Duck to get it going somewhat in the second half. He finished with 22 points and nine rebounds but committed seven turnovers and fouled out in the closing moments. Young and played a combined 50 minutes for Oregon and scored only two points on a combined 1-of-10 shooting. Oregon shot 5-of-27 from distance with three of their makes in the games closing minutes. They shot 37.9 percent overall compared to Cal’s 52 percent. Oregon depends on the three guards to score. When that doesn’t happen they are in trouble.
Shepherd was by far the best player on the court today. He connected on 9-of-13 from the field including 2-of-3 from deep and made 13-of-15 free throws. The Bears won the game despite committing 17 turnovers against only five assists. Oregon was 15-of-23 from the foul line (65.2%) while Cal shot 20-of-24 (83.3%). Cal won the battle of the boards with a 36-31 margin.
Oregon (16-8, 9-4) will try to get back on the winning track against Washington State in a make-up game on Monday evening.