Seventh seed Oregon downed tenth seed Oregon St. 88-74 Wednesday night in the Pac-12 Tournament, and it was a combination of Joseph Young and the Duck bench that buried the Beavers.
Young, who had 15 of his 19 points in the second half, scored 12 straight points for Oregon just past the midway point in the second half, the middle 8 of which made for an 8-0 run that broke the game open, putting the Duck up by 12 points, 71-59.
It was also Young's 3 pointer that opened what was the largest lead of the game to that point, pushing Oregon ahead by 14 with 3:48 left, and the Ducks glided to the 14 point win from there.
The other major factor was the Oregon bench, which outscored the Oregon St. bench 46-6, and not only kept the Ducks in the game in the first half, actually put them up 1 at the break.
In the 342nd basketball battle of the Civil War, but the first ever contested outside of northwest Oregon, it was Oregon St. that got off to the fast start, jumping out to a 9-0 lead as Oregon missed their first 9 shots, before a Michael Moser 4 pointer got the Ducks on the board.
Oregon St.'s Eric Moreland picked up 2 fouls in barely more than 3 minutes, and would play only 5 minutes in the first half, but the Beavers pressed on, opening a 10 point lead, their largest of the game just over 6 minutes in, on Angus Brandt's jumper.
Oregon head coach Dana Altman made a 4 player substitution, and it jump started the Ducks, who answered with a 12-0 run, which coincided with Oregon St. head coach Craig Robinson making his first half substitutions that include no one who can score.
The result was a 4 1/2 minute scoring drought before a Brandt 3, which didn't deter the Ducks, who ran off 7 more in a row.
"I thought our group that came in, we got off to a bad start," Altman said. "But the group that came in, D.A., Elgin, Ben, Jason, and I think Dot was out there, really turned up the defense. I thought we get down 10 to start the ballgame, and the press and the defense kind of helped us get it turned around there."
Pac-12 analyst Don MacLean asked the question as to why Moreland, Oregon St.'s starting center, was bringing the ball up court, and he shortly got his answer; a look at the OSU backup backcourt.
Though the Beavers did accumulate 7 free throws, it was again over 5 minutes before their next basket from the floor.
Still, they rallied, sparked by a 5-0 personal run by Roberto Nelson, who had 9 of his 13 first half minutes in a matter of 5 minutes late in the half. Only a pair of free throws by Young, the Pac-12's leader from the line, kept Oregon ahead 41-40 at the break.
Jason Calliste, Ben Carter, Dominic Atris, and Elgin Cook combined for 24 first half points off the Oregon bench, and Artis also had a half dozen assists before the break.
Oregon St., or more specifically, Brandt got off to another good start in the second half, as Brandt scored the Beavers' first 5 points, with both baskets giving them leads.
Calliste would tie the game 5 minutes into the second half with a 3 pointer, but Brandt answered with his second 3 of the half to put Oregon St. up 57-54.
It would be their last lead of the game though, as Oregon went on a 9-0 run, forcing Robinson into a timeout with 11:43 to go, down 63-57.
A charging foul on Devon Collier was all that came of the strategy session though, and the momentum got away just after the midway mark of the half.
Hallice Cooke missed a 3 pointer, and then Young got a second chance basket to open Oregon's first 10 point lead of the game, and force another Oregon St. timeout.
Another Oregon offensive rebound after Young had uncharacteristically missed a pair of free throws allowed Young to extend his personal scoring streak to 10 straight.
The lead gradually grew, at 12 points after an Artis free throw, 13 after Calliste answered a Cooke basket with a 3 pointer, and 14 on Young's 3.
The Duck lead would reach 16 points twice, and finally 17, the largest of the game, on an Artis 3 pointer.
"I thought in this first half we did a good job on them defensively, or at least an adequate job," Robinson felt. "Then in the second half, we just couldn't stop them, and that's a tribute to them running through their stuff. When you play an NCAA tournament team like that, you're going to have to guard a little bit better."
Robinson threw in the towel, pulling his seniors 1 by one, starting with Brandt with 1:13 left, followed by Nelson and then Collier, and got a post-season appearance for the walkons.
Brandt went out after a brilliant effort, posting a game high 20 points, on 5 of 9 shooting, including 3 of 3 on 3s.
Nelson matched Young, both of whom had 19 points. Nelson made 6 of 12 shots, and 7 of 8 free throws, while Young made 8 off 11 shots.
Collier finished with 11, and Cooke had 12, and a game high 8 rebounds. Moreland finished with only 6 points, and 7 boards.
Moser had 13 for Oregon, but it was Calliste, who had 17 points, after making 4 of 5 shots, including 3 of 4 from 3 point range, and 6 of 6 from the free throw line, that led the Oregon bench. Artis was also in double digits, with 10.
Oregon St. lost by 14 points despite shooting 61% from the floor, and 25 of 36 free throws. There were 2 causes of that; not taking nearly enough shots, and turning the ball over too much. Oregon took 52 shots, and made 30 of them, including making 10 of 16 from 3 point range. Oregon St. only took 38 shots, making 23, but also only took 6 3 point shots, and made just 3 of them.
The Ducks also had a 15-5 turnover edge on the Beavers.
Oregon improved to 23-8, and will face tournament second seed UCLA (23-8) tomorrow night at 6 PM PDT.
The Ducks also took the season series from the Beavers, after splitting the conference games, with both teams holding serve on their own floors. Oregon also likely cemented a bid to the NCAA tournament with the win, and the additional game against the high RPI Bruins it earned them.
Oregon St. dropped to 16-15. Most projections had the Beavers into the NIT with a win over the Ducks, and the RPI boost of a game against UCLA, even if they were to lose, but that now seems much less likely, and heavily dependent on what happens to other NIT bubble teams as conference tournaments continue to play out the rest of the week.