Although coach Ernie Kent wishes it were otherwise, the chief topic of discussion after the Oregon Duck's basketball practice Thursday was his team's lingering distraction from the Arizona State game.
In that 76-58 loss Saturday, Kent pulled junior guard Tajuan Porter from the game in the final minute of the first half, citing lack of hustle. When Kent approached Porter, the player seemed to wave his coach off. And while Kent has since said the gesture was misinterpreted, Porter didn't play in the second half.
Coach and player say the situation is behind them, and Porter is expected to start against the Huskies on Thursday. (Here's my game preview.)
However, it's just another distraction for the Ducks, who don't need any extra distractions as the only Pac-10 team without a league win. And in addition to Kent and Porter having to talk about it, so did the other Ducks made available to the media today:
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Freshman guard Garrett Sim: "They did a good job handling it. They did a good job of getting back on the same page and I think things are definitely better now."
Junior forward Joevan Catron: "With me knowing Tajuan, I know he's going to bounce back. When he gets benched like that he usually bounces back. He's lible to go for 40 the next time he plays, so I'm not worried about T.P. … I've seen him do amazing things. I'm pretty sure he's going to bounce back and have a good game."
An early look at the game:
WASHINGTON (11-4 OVERALL, 2-1 PAC-10)
AT OREGON (6-10, 0-4)
7 p.m., McArthur Court, Eugene, Ore.
Series: Washington leads 180-102 overall and 70-67 at Oregon. The teams have split the past two seasons, each winning at home.
Statistical leaders: For Oregon, G Tajuan Porter, 13.4 ppg; Joevan Catron, 6.7 rpg and 2.7 apg. For UW, F Jon Brockman 16.2 ppg and 10.9 rpg; G Isaiah Thomas, 3.2 agp.
Scouting report: The Ducks are the only winless team in Pac-10 play. They are trying to avoid their first 0-5 league start since opening 0-11 in 1992-93. … The Ducks are drawing 7,896 fans per home game – 87 percent of capacity. … The will not be UW's final game at Mac Court. Oregon's new basketball arena is scheduled to open in time for conference play during the 2010-11 season. … Coach Ernie Kent is running a deep rotation: 11 Ducks average more than eight minutes per game, and only Porter is averaging more than 30. … Washington leads the Pac-10 in rebounding margin, while Oregon is last. UW also has become the highest-scoring team in the league, averaging 77.8 points per game. Oregon doesn't lead the league in any statistical category and is last in scoring margin, scoring defense, field goal percentage, field goal percentage defense, and 3-point field goal percentage defense… Brockman is seven rebounds short of matching Doug Smart's school-record 1,051 career rebounds. Passing Smart will move Brockman to eighth on the Pac-10 career list.
Next: 7 p.m. Saturday, at Oregon State, Gill Coliseum, Corvallis, Ore.
And yes, unfortunately that "No TV" is correct.