Eugene, OR – A Pac-12 matchup was set Sunday night at Matthew Knight Arena between the Oregon Ducks and Washington Huskies. Both teams are riding highs, as of late, with Washington, winners of three in a row, and Oregon having won their last five. Oregon’s winning streak includes a sweep of the Los Angeles schools, both ranked in the Top-5. The Ducks only needed one half to put the game out of reach, as they went into halftime with a 48-13 disparity. The Ducks’ nearly flawless half consisted of forcing 13 turnovers, holding the Huskies to 15 percent shooting, while Oregon was dialed in, shooting 66 percent from the field. Oregon maintained complete control of the game in front of 6,378 fans, cruising to the finish line with an 84-56 win, extending their win streak to six games.
Will Richardson, the current Pac-12 player of the week, continued his stellar play. From the start he was ready to catch and fire by hitting his first two 3-pointers of the game giving the Ducks an early 13-4 lead at the 14-minute mark of the first half. His second three gave him 1,000 career points as a Duck. Later Richardson, in transition had a beautiful left to right crossover, then drove downhill into the lane before dropping a perfect pass to teammate Franck Kepnang for the slam. The senior finished the night with a game high 21 points and added four assists, three rebounds and two steals. The 6-5 combo guard has elevated his level of play recently averaging 20 points per contest and shooting 58 on field goals during their win streak. He is starting to regain the confidence of scouts and potentially being considered a prospect for the 2022 NBA draft.
Guards Jacob Young and Davion Harmon played a pivotal role at both ends of the floor versus the Huskies. The quick and shifty ball handlers can provide more than scoring. On the defensive end, Young had three steals and Oregon as a team forced 23 turnovers for the contest while holding the Huskies to 31 percent shooting for the game. Young had 12 points (5-for-10 FG), and three assists. Oregon’s ball movement has improved due in part to the guards’ ability to create off the bounce, while setting up their teammates for open looks. Oregon had 16 assists with Harmon having a game high five assists. The 6-2 junior shot 3-of-6 from the field to score nine points and grabbed three rebounds.
Washington pieced together a stronger second half after nothing was going right for them early on. Emmitt Matthews Jr. a senior forward, who played his first three seasons with West Virginia, connected on a few 3-pointers in the second half off the catch. The left-handed shooter went 4-of-9 on field goal attempts to tally 14 points. The Huskies would increase their shooting numbers to a respectable 31 percent shooting for the game. Leading scorer Terrell Brown Jr. was held in check throughout most of the game. Prior to the contest against Oregon, Brown Jr. was averaging 21.4 points per game on the season. The Ducks made it a point of emphasis to challenge every shot around the basket, while the guards put pressure on him out on the perimeter. He managed 14 points though was 3-for-16 shooting from the field. Most of his points came from the free throw strike where he went 8-for-8. In addition, he had two assists and two rebounds.
The paced slowed down in the second half for Oregon, nonetheless, the Ducks had several contributors from their front court. Forward Quincey Guerrier scored 10 points (3-for-6 FG) and added four rebounds. Franck Kepnang brought the energy and hustle at both ends of the court. He scored nine points (4-for-5 FG), pulled down four rebounds and had one emphatic block. Starting center N’Faly Dante pitched in six points and two assists while posting a plus 27. Oregon as a team were a force in the paint by outscoring the Huskies 40-24. The Ducks shot 50 percent (9-for-18) on 3s for the game and had one of their best nights from the strike, converting on 11-of-13 attempts to roll to the 28-point victory.
Oregon (12-6, 5-2) will face Colorado (12-6, 4-4) in a rescheduled contest Tuesday night at home. Washington (9-8, 4-3) will return home to take on Colorado (12-6, 4-4) on January 27th.