One win down, two to go. The Oregon Ducks defeated the Arizona Wildcats 80-69 Monday evening in a hard-fought victory. It was the start of a three-game homestand for the Ducks, and it went as well as coach Dana Altman could’ve hoped.
Story: Xaiver Aguiar
The Ducks came out firing on all cylinders, hitting four of their first five triples to take an early advantage. Arizona’s coach Sean Miller was infuriated by his team’s play, which quickly picked up after a timeout. Arizona started exploiting their height advantage and getting to the basket at will. The Wildcat played a variation of a box-and-one defense which, stagnated Oregon’s offense. That allowed Arizona to gain its first lead of the contest, but it was the only one they’d have. After an Altman timeout, Oregon had a 13-3 surge before the break to take a 40-36 lead.
The second have was all Oregon. The Duck’s downtown barrage was too much for the Wildcats to handle. Shooting 12-22 from beyond the arc was too much for Sean Miller’s crew to handle, and Oregon was able to pull away late. Chris Duarte paced the Ducks with 22 points and 7 rebounds, continuing his All-American caliber season. Oregon also was able to extend its win streak to 7 against the Wildcats.
The fate of the Pac-12 now lies in Oregon’s hands. If they can win out, they will be the conference champions. However, they’re not out of the woods yet. On Wednesday evening, the UCLA Bruins come to town with conference champion aspirations as well. In a season full of turmoil due to a raging pandemic, the Ducks couldn’t ask to be in a better position.