GAME NOTES: In the second installment of a three-game homestand, the Oregon Ducks welcome the Washington Huskies to Matthew Knight Arena for a Pac-12 Conference affair.
Oregon faced in-state rival Oregon State to begin the homestand on Sunday, earning a 93-83 victory. The Ducks, who were once ranked No. 10 in the country, had lost three of their previous four games and are still just 4-8 against the rest of the confrence, despite their solid 16-8 overall mark. They will also have hosting duties this Sunday against Washington State.
Washington has been a perplexing team this season, rarely putting together consistent stretches in either direction. The Huskies have lost four of their last five games to fall to 14-12 overall and below .500 in league play (6-7). They will visit Oregon State on Saturday in their next bout.
C.J. Wilcox led the way with 23 points as Washington narrowly edged out Oregon, 80-76, when these teams met in Seattle on Jan. 23. The win earned some revenge for the Huskies against the Ducks, who swept the season series a year ago. However, UW still owns a sizable lead in the all-time series (188-108).
Andrew Andrews scored a career-high 21 points, but the effort went to waste as Washington dropped a 72-59 decision to California, at home, last time out. The Huskies only knocked down 35.9 percent of their shots from the field, while turning the ball over 14 times.
It is difficult for any team to win when shooting so poorly, especially when your leading scorer has an off night. Wilcox (18.8 ppg) had a difficult time against the Golden Bears, finishing with just eight points on 4-of-12 shooting, including a 0-of-6 effort from beyond the arc. Wilcox, who is third in the conference in scoring, has finished outside double figures twice in the last three games. He has also been below 35 percent shooting in each of those tests. Andrews (11.9 ppg) cannot be expected to pick up the slack very often, as he is just a 36 percent shooter. Nigel Williams-Goss (13.3 ppg, 3.9 apg) and Perris Blackwell (10.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg) are also important contributors, but neither has proven worthy of filling Wilcox's shoes as the primary option.
Joseph Young scored 25 points to lead five players in double figures in Oregon's victory over rival Oregon State. The Ducks sank 11 3-pointers and shot 53.4 percent from the floor overall, as they never trailed in the game.
Despite their fall from grace, the Ducks have still managed to be a strong offensive team, ranking eighth nationally while leading the Pac-12 in scoring (83.7 ppg). However, the 93 points they tallied against Oregon State ended a seven-game streak for Oregon during which it failed to reach 80 points. Young (18.7 ppg) is one of the best pure scorers in the Pac-12, ranking right behind Wilcox in the conference standings. Mike Moser (12.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and Jason Calliste (12.3 ppg) serve as solid secondary options, with the latter being the first guy off the bench. Damyean Dotson (10.5 ppg) is also a solid scorer, while Johnathan Loyd (7.7 ppg, 5.2 apg) runs the point, ranking fifth in the league in assists.
Wilcox's recent struggles have been indicative of a team-wide slump for Washington. Oregon may not be the elite squad it was thought to be earlier in the season, but Young and company can still light up the scoreboard, especially at home.
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