CORVALLIS – James Crepea said earlier in the day on Fox Sports Eugene that if the Oregon Ducks Men’s Basketball team (9-6, 2-2) lost to Oregon State (3-11, 1-3), any hopes for an NCAA Tournament bid would essentially be over.
In the end the win did not come easy with a wild battle in Corvallis as it took an Eric Williams go-ahead three pointer with 13.2 seconds left to lift the Ducks over the Beavers.
“Eric came to play and that gave us a big lift, he was the difference in the game tonight,” said head coach Dana Altman.
The rivalry got off to a hot start, with both teams shooting over 50% in the first 10 minutes.
The half saw seven ties and seven lead changes, with OSU taking control early. Some key stops and buckets from Eric Williams gave the Ducks a slight advantage. After playing for the last shot in the half, Will Richardson handed the ball off to Jacob Young for a wide open three-pointer that he hit as time expired, giving Oregon a 40-36 lead at the break.
The Battle continued in the second half, with five more ties, but somehow the Ducks managed to never relinquish the lead. Williams Jr. scored nine points in the period to pace the Ducks offensively, while both he and N’Faly Dante finished with double-doubles for Oregon.
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The game was tied up with 38 seconds to play, after OSU executed a well-designed out of bounds play. The Ducks countered and got Williams an open look with 13 seconds left, and Williams connected for a three-point lead. Oregon intentionally fouled, made a couple free throws and defended well to escape with the victory.
Jacob Young was the leading scorer after a strong first half, while Dante (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Williams Jr. (14 points, 11 rebounds) each recorded double-doubles.
Oregon heads to Los Angeles to face two tough games against ranked opponents at No. 3 UCLA (10-1, 2-0) on Thursday and No. 5 USC (13-0, 3-0) on Saturday.