Seattle, WA – The Oregon Ducks squared off against the Washington Huskies in a Pac-12 conference match at Alaska Airlines Arena Saturday night. Last year’s contest between these teams ended in a dramatic fashion when Payton Pritchard sunk a deep 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Ducks a three-point win in overtime. The Huskies have had a rough start to this season, however did manage their first win against local foe Seattle University last week. As for the Ducks, they are riding a 3-game winning streak after losing their first match of the season to the University of Missouri.
It was a wild back and forth finish, starting with Oregon transfer Eric Williams Jr.’s huge 3-pointer with 1:14 remaining to put Oregon up by four. In the ensuing possession, RaeQuan Battle countered with a drive in the lane making the basket and was fouled. He converted the 3-point play to cut the lead to one. Moments later, Chris Duarte was fouled and went to the line making one of two to extend the Ducks’ lead to just two with seven seconds remaining, giving the Huskies one last chance to tie or take the lead. The ball was handed off to Washington’s Quade Green who, after a sensational game in keeping the Huskies within reach, launched a deep three that missed by hitting off the back rim. Oregon secured the rebound and the win 74-71.
Oregon finished the first half strong by completing an 8-0 run, giving them a 41-31 lead. The huge discrepancy in the first 20 minutes of play was a turnover battle and points in the paint. Oregon forced 13 turnovers which were converted into 17 points. Oregon’s 6-11 sophomore center, N’Faly Dante, recorded his first career double-double tallying 12 points (4-of-6 FG), 10 rebounds (career High) and one block. With his effort, Oregon outscored the Huskies at the half in the paint 26-6.
Multiple Oregon players contributed on the offensive end with four scoring more than ten points in the night, including Eugene Omoruyi. He is currently the leading scorer for the Ducks averaging 21 points per game while shooting 50 percent from the field although he did struggle with his shot last night. Omoruyi only hit on 3-of-13 attempts, though he was able to get to the foul line making all eight of his attempts. He finished with 14 points and five rebounds. Oregon as team went 20-of-27 from the foul line compared to Washington who made all their ten attempts.
The Ducks’ Duarte, in his second season with the team, had a solid all-around game including making some hustle plays on the defensive end, especially in the first half. He had two steals which led to points and a big block on Nate Pryor who thought he had an easy lay-up alone in the half court. Duarte ended the game scoring 14 points on 4-for-9 shooting and added collected seven rebounds and two assists. Williams Jr. hit two big 3-pointers down the stretch in key possessions. He also scored in double digits contributing 13 points (4-for-11 FG).
Washington’s Green was the best player on the court and the Huskies will heavily rely on his play throughout their season to give them a chance in games. The 6-foot point guard from Philadelphia snaked his way in pick and roll situations prior to elevating and making difficult jumpers. Also, he attacked often in transition by getting to the basket and finishing through contact. Even though his final 3-point attempt was off the mark, Green had a game-high 26 points (10-for-17 FG), dished out four assists and added three rebounds.
Another bright spot in a losing effort for the Huskies was Battle who was a huge spark off the bench. The 6-5 sophomore, who struggled shooting from the perimeter to start the season, caught fire hitting on 4-of-6 attempts from the 3-point line. He scored 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field. His quick catch and release made it difficult for Oregon to challenge his shot. Starter Hameir Wright added eight points and six rebounds. Washington will be challenged nightly as Green is their only consistent scorer and they do not seem to have a reliable secondary scorer moving forward. Battle or Wright could assume that role as the season progresses.
Oregon (4-1, 1-0) will return home to face the UCLA Bruins (5-1, 1-0) on the 23rd of December. The Bruins are the favorite to win the Pac-12 Conference. Oregon is looking to potentially schedule a home game this coming week. Washington (1-4, 0-2) will stay home to challenge the Montana Grizzlies (1-4, 0-2) in a non-conference game.