Oregon- Cal: Ducks' 3 Point Barrage Sinks The Bears

Sam SugarmanCorrespondent IFebruary 9, 2008

In a matter of two days and two focused team meetings, Oregon found something.

Something even coach Ernie Kent couldn't quite explain: a 3-point shooting performance he had never seen from his team.

"This had very little do with X's and O's today," he said.

Tajuan Porter hit four straight 3s during a decisive run to start the second half and seven in all, and the Ducks made a school-record 18 3-pointers to beat California 92-70 on Saturday and end a 16-game losing streak in the Bay Area dating back nearly eight years.

Bryce Taylor scored Oregon's first seven points after the break and the Ducks made eight consecutive 3-pointers and 10 of 11 from long range during one stretch to quickly turn a two-point halftime lead into a rout. They wound up 18-of-31 on 3s and Taylor scored a team-high 28 points with five 3s.

Oregon's 3-point total was a record at Pete Newell Court.

"Everybody had their rhythm. Everybody was feeling it," Porter said. "Everybody was looking out for each other and shooting the ball with great confidence."

Malik Hairston had 15 points, five rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots before fouling out late in Oregon's 58-point second half. He became the 10th Oregon player to reach 1,500 points after joining the school's top-10 scoring list Thursday at Stanford.

"It's tough to defend when you've got guys across the court who can shoot like that," Hairston said.

Porter finished with 23 points, 7-for-11 on 3s, and Taylor started the 19-6 run after

intermission for Oregon (14-9, 5-6 Pac-10), which rebounded from its worst offensive outing since late 1991 with one its most impressive this year.

The Ducks, who managed only 14 total field goals in a 72-43 loss Thursday at Stanford, had dropped five of six and gone 0-3 on the road since an 84-74 victory at Arizona on Jan. 5.

Against ninth-ranked Stanford, Oregon was held to its lowest point total since a 78-39 loss to Montana on Nov. 22, 1991—also the Ducks' lowest output in a conference game in the beginning of the shot-clock era in 1986-87.

They were just 4-of-18 from 3-point range in the Stanford game.

"Sometimes you do need to hit rock bottom ... we were certainly there on Thursday," Kent said. "These guys learned a life lesson. I'm happy for them to be able to go through it. I hope they don't forget the lesson they learned. It's something they can take on to later in life."

Maarty Leunen added 17 points with four 3s, 11 rebounds and seven assists as Oregon snapped Cal's three-game winning streak, the Golden Bears' longest in Pac-10 play since the team won six in a row from Jan. 26-Feb. 16, 2006, and denied Ben Braun his 550th career victory.

"It definitely hurts," Cal's Ryan Anderson said. "We had a nice run going. Our confidence was high. I don't know what it was about tonight. We just weren't really focused or prepared as we usually are."

Jerome Randle scored 17 to lead Cal (14-8, 5-6), leaving briefly in the second half after getting hit in the face. He sustained a chipped tooth, ankle sprain and bruised thigh.

DeVon Hardin added 13 points, Anderson had 17 and six boards and Cal was outrebounded 32-20.

The Bears had been among one of the better teams in the conference at defending the 3.

"That's something we've done a decent job at," Braun said. "We didn't get it done today. They hit some big shots. That's probably as well as they've shot. They came off their worst shooting game. They're just too good a shooting team. You give them 3-point looks and that's what they do. They knock down shots."

Hardin, who didn't play against Washington State or Washington last weekend because of a viral infection, came off the bench for the second straight game.

The Ducks hadn't won in the Bay Area since a 64-60 victory at Cal on Feb. 12, 2000. The streak also included a loss this season at now-No. 25 Saint Mary's, where Kent got his first head coaching job.

Hairston scored five with three rebounds and an assist in the opening eight minutes. He and Taylor also played strong defense on Patrick Christopher, Cal's second-leading scorer coming in at 16.6 points per game. Christopher had a tough time penetrating, going 0-for-7 overall with just two points.

"It was definitely huge," Hairston said of bouncing back after the demoralizing loss Thursday. "We were embarrassed and don't want that to ever happen again."

The Ducks hit five of its first eight shots and jumped to a 10-1 advantage on the boards with several second-chance opportunities. After they went up 16-9, Cal answered with a 12-2 run that featured four points by Randle and back-to-back 3s from Anderson and Nican Robinson.