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Oregon holds off rival OSU, sets up Pac-12 quarterfinal battle against CU Buffs

Ducks guard Jacob Young posts career-high 11 assists

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 09: Jacob Young #42 of the Oregon Ducks drives against Jarod Lucas #2 of the Oregon State Beavers during the first round of the Pac-12 Conference basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 09, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 09: Jacob Young #42 of the Oregon Ducks drives against Jarod Lucas #2 of the Oregon State Beavers during the first round of the Pac-12 Conference basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 09, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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LAS VEGAS — Oregon limped into the Pac-12 Conference tournament without its best player and facing a rivalry matchup in its opening game.

Yet the train wreck that has been Oregon State this season proved to be a perfect tonic for the Ducks.

Fifth-seeded Oregon led from start to finish on Wednesday, dispatching OSU 86-72 in a first-round game at T-Mobile Arena. The Ducks’ win set up a quarterfinal matchup against the fourth-seeded Colorado Buffaloes on Thursday afternoon (3:30 MT, Pac-12 Network).

Oregon announced prior to the tournament that star guard Will Richardson, a second-team All-Pac-12 selection and the Ducks’ leader in scoring and assists, will be sidelined the entire week due to a non-COVID illness. Guard Jacob Young helped fill the void against the Beavers, scoring 23 points with a career-high 11 assists.

“Jacob’s energy in pushing the ball was really big,” said Oregon coach Dana Altman, whose club lost five of its final six regular season games. “A good team effort. Points off turnovers we beat them, points in the paint, fast break, you look at those stats. Plus-six on the boards. We needed to come together a little bit without Will, and I thought the guys did a good job of that.”

Oregon (19-13) scored the game’s first 12 points but OSU immediately got back in the game with a 14-3 run. One year removed from a stirring run to the Pac-12 tournament title and a berth in the Elite Eight, the Beavers kept things close throughout but ultimately finished their miserable season with a record of 3-28.

OSU cut the deficit to one possession several times in the second half, but each time the Ducks responded. The Beavers remained within four points after a pair of free throws from Ahmad Rand with 7 minutes, 37 seconds remaining, but Oregon answered with seven consecutive points and steadily pulled away down the stretch.

The Ducks and Colorado split their regular season series with each team winning on the road. CU shot .500 in its win at Oregon on Jan. 25 but was held to a .388 mark, the Buffs’ sixth-lowest total of the season, during the Ducks’ win in Boulder on Feb. 3. After that defeat, the Buffs began their run of seven wins in eight games that they will take into the rubber match with Oregon on Thursday.

“Colorado has really played well offensively,” Altman said. “I haven’t watched any film on them specifically, but I’ve caught them on TV and their ball movement, they’re really playing well together. You look at their point totals, they’re scoring a lot of buckets.

“We’re going to have to be really focused defensively. We’re going to have to do a great job on the boards. When we were able to get them at their place, I thought it was our defense. When they got us at our place, it was our lack of defense. So our defensive effort is going to be really important. But they’re playing really well. Down the stretch here they’ve played really great. We know we’ve got our work cut out for us.”

Oregon 86, Oregon St. 72

OREGON ST. (3-28)

Calloo 2-9 4-4 9, Taylor 6-9 3-3 16, Silva 3-6 3-4 9, Davis 4-9 0-0 8, Lucas 6-10 7-8 22, Akanno 1-4 0-0 2, Rand 2-5 2-2 6, Alatishe 0-1 0-0 0, Isai.Johnson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-54 19-21 72.

OREGON (19-13)

Guerrier 7-11 3-6 20, E.Williams 6-12 0-0 14, Dante 7-9 1-3 15, Harmon 2-7 0-1 5, Young 10-19 3-3 23, Soares 3-4 1-1 8, Kepnang 0-1 1-4 1, Bittle 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 35-63 9-18 86.

Halftime — Oregon 43-36. 3-point field goals — Oregon St. 5-15 (Lucas 3-6, Taylor 1-2, Calloo 1-3, Akanno 0-1, Rand 0-1, Davis 0-2), Oregon 7-20 (Guerrier 3-7, E.Williams 2-6, Soares 1-2, Harmon 1-3, Young 0-2). Fouled out — Silva. Rebounds — Oregon St. 30 (Calloo, Akanno 5), Oregon 36 (E.Williams 8). Assists — Oregon St. 10 (Davis 5), Oregon 19 (Young 11). Total fouls — Oregon St. 19, Oregon 19. A — 7,555.

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