After a big time win this past Sunday, the Oregon Ducks basketball team still holds a chance to give themselves an automatic bid into the NCAA March Madness Tournament. The Ducks went into Corvallis Sunday facing probably one of their most defining and influential games of the season. Not only was this game faced up against their in-state rival Oregon State, but also was a game that the Ducks desperately needed in hopes of making it to the tournament.
In the two teams’ first meeting the Ducks began the game in front, and went into the half with a five point lead. However because of turnovers and missed opportunities, the Ducks let the lead slip and were outscored by ten points in the second half to go on to lose 76-71 in Eugene. As most people would suspect the Ducks had a sort of revenge going into this second game between the two, especially since it was in Oregon State’s home gym.
This second game was a lot different though. It was a close game all throughout the first half, and entering into halftime, the Ducks held a one point lead in front of the Beavers. But unlike their first matchup, it was the Ducks who came out hot in the second half. Extending their lead to ten points with only 5:50 left, the Ducks were closing in on the win. However it the Civil War, and who ever gives up in a Civil War? The Beavers made it all up, and came back to cut the lead to two points with 34 seconds left on the clock. Then with 10 seconds left on the clock Olu Ashaolu got a offensive rebound and went back up to get fouled. After making his first free throw, he missed the second, and gave the Beavers one last chance to come down and tie it and send the game into overtime. Challe Barton shot up a three, but missed it, followed by a slam dunk by Jared Cunningham as time expired which was not enough as the Ducks held on to a one point win.
With this win, the Ducks are currently tied for fourth place in the Pac 12 with Colorado. If the Ducks manage to win both of their next two games against Colorado and Utah, they will have a share of at least third place in the Pac 12 which would give them a first round bye in the Pac 12 tournament, and raise their stakes at receiving a bid into the NCAA tournament.
The Ducks head off against Colorado Thursday night at 7:30 PM in the Matthew Knight Arena. The Ducks have already lost to Colorado this season after a arguable last second foul call with seconds left. They hope to get revenge on their home court, and then move ahead of Colorado in the Pac 12 standings. Go Ducks!