EUGENE, — The Oregon men’s basketball team made Husky fans howl last night.
The rivalry game was hardly a contest from the beginning of the evening Sunday. The UO men posted their largest margin of victory ever over the Huskies, winning their sixth straight game 84-56 in Matthew Knight Arena.
Playing for the first time in more than a week due to COVID protocols, the Ducks led 24-6 midway through the first half, then scored 16 straight points to lead 40-8, on the way to a 48-13 lead at halftime. At that point Oregon’s defense had more turnovers forced (14) than points allowed (13).
“We kind of had a sense of urgency, and coach put a lot of emphasis on defense before the game,” junior forward Quincy Guerrier said. “That’s why, first half, we played really well on defense. When everyone is locked in, connected, y’all see the result.”
The Ducks led by as much as 38 in the second half before going deep into their bench. Oregon’s largest margin of victory over UW previously had been 25, set a handful of times.
After UW scored the game’s opening basket, the Huskies went nearly six minutes without another field goal. The Ducks put together a 13-2 run over that stretch, including two three-pointers by Will Richardson that made him the 37th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points.
After UW finally made another basket, the Ducks launched an 11-0 run that included two thunderous dunks by Franck Kepnang. Two free throws got UW within 24-8 before the Ducks went on another run, this time scoring 16 straight including three-pointers by Eric Williams Jr., Rivaldo Soares, Richardson and Guerrier.
Up 48-13 at halftime, the Ducks were shooting 19-of-29 including 8-of-12 from three-point range. UW had more turnovers than points, and Richardson had more field goals (five) than Washington’s entire team (four).
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“They were ready to play a game,” said UO coach Dana Altman, whose team had a Thursday game against Washington State postponed by COVID protocols. “I thought in the first half, our defensive activity was real good. Second half it wasn’t really as good, but the guys had a big lead and kind of exchanged baskets there. But the first half we forced a lot of turnovers, our activity was really good — I thought we did a lot of good things.”
A layup by De’Vion Harmon set up by a Richardson steal early in the second half gave Oregon its biggest lead, 55-17, and the Ducks matched that 38-point margin a couple of times later in the half. As the half wore on Altman went to his bench, ultimately playing 13 different Ducks. Among the reserves who played was Lök Wur, making his first appearance since Nov. 29.
Richardson finished with 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting, reaching 20 for the third time in his last five games. Guerrier and Jacob Young scored 12 each, and Guerrier led the Ducks with four rebounds. Harmon had a team-high five assists with nine points, and Kepnang also scored nine.
Oregon’s defense not only forced 23 turnovers, the Ducks held the Pac-12’s leading scorer — UW’s Terrell Brown Jr. — to 14 points on 3-of-16 shooting. He came into the game averaging 21.4 points per game, ranking seventh nationally.
The big margin in the second half allowed Altman to evaluate his playing rotation. The Ducks are primarily using an eight-man rotation, with freshman Nate Bittle as the next man up. Bittle was able to get seven minutes of action Sunday, Isaac Johnson made his first appearance against a Pac-12 opponent and Wur was able to return after missing time due to injury.
The Ducks host Colorado on Tuesday (7 p.m., Pac-12 Network).