Oregon Ducks: Ducks Hold off Cougars to Stay Perfect in Pac-12 Play

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Oregon Ducks: Ducks Hold off Cougars to Stay Perfect in Pac-12 Play
Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian

The No. 16 Oregon Ducks held off the Washington State Cougars Wednesday night at Matthew Knight Arena, 68-61.

Things started out rough for the Ducks. They struggled to rebound on the offensive board and also failed to defend the three-pointer. The Cougars ended the first half shooting 7-of-13 from beyond the arc.

The Cougars, led by senior guard Mike Ladd and senior forward Brock Motum, were tough on the boards and prevented the Ducks from staying within reach in the first half. A key aspect to the Cougars' rebounding game in the first half was junior forward D.J. Shelton, who finished the game with seven rebounds. 

The Ducks were down 39-29 after the first half, but came out in the second half and turned things around. The Ducks' defensive play by senior forward Arsalan Kazemi and freshman guard Damyean Dotson helped spark the Ducks and get them back into the game. The Cougars did not make a basket until the 15:10 mark of the second half. 

The Ducks' offensive surge in the second half was led by senior forward E.J. Singler, who hit two clutch three-pointers that helped knot the game up at 46 with 12:18 remaining. Singler ended up finishing the game with 19 points and five assists. Kazemi and Dotson were in on the action as well. Kazemi helped on the boards as he finished the game with 16 points and seven total rebounds. Dotson finished with 11 points and nine total rebounds. 

The Ducks seemed to gain control of the game when freshman guard Dominic Artis drained a three-pointer with 5:52 left in the game to give the Ducks a 57-53 lead.

Cougar forward Brock Motum answered with a jump shot to bring the game back to within two points, but  Carlos Emory, who had not played well for most of the game, threw down a momentum-changing dunk five seconds later. Emory then laid in another basket about a minute-and-a-half later to give the Ducks a 61-57 lead. The Cougars could not find their way back into the game, and the Ducks went on to win 68-61.

The Ducks held Mike Ladd to only five points in the second half after he had dropped 14 points in the first half. The Ducks defense also caused Ladd to turn the ball over five times in the second half as well.

To top it off, Ladd went cold from the free-throw line in the remaining minutes of the game, missing four of six free throws. The Cougars ended up missing all 11 of their three-point attempts in the second half, which is what hurt the Ducks the most in the first half. 

The Ducks are now 6-0 in conference play for the first time since the 1925-26 season. The Ducks will now battle rival Washington at home on Saturday at Matthew Knight Arena. The Ducks will look to extend their 19-home game winning streak, and Washington will look to bounce back after losing Wednesday night 74-66 at Oregon State. 

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