by DSH contributing writer Eric Sloat
A loss is a loss is a loss is a loss is a loss. But, while they are all equal in the final determination, this defeat was very different than the others for the Ducks in their five game losing streak. During this freefall, the Ducks have often looked completely overmatched physically and unprepared mentally.
But in this match-up against the Huskies, for stretches, the Ducks were the dominant team. Oregon led in rebounding; Oregon led in points in the paint. Oregon got more scoring from the bench. Oregon had fewer turnovers. In practically any game during the season, if a team can lead in these categories, the win is theirs; except when the other team leads in the most important category. Washington put the ball in the basket and Oregon didn’t. Washington shot 26-45, 57.7 overall, 7-12 from 3, 58.3. Oregon, countered with, 27-63 from the field, 42.8, and 4-15, 26.6 % on 3’s.
Too Dawg-gone easy: UW's C.J. Wilcox gets a clinching basket in the last 23 seconds of the game in the Huskies 80-76 win last night (Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports photo).
Much has been made of the defense failing the Ducks during the losing streak; and certainly it plays a part. But the biggest part of the blame for the last two defeats has been the offense. Whereas this Ducks team would never be recognized as a clamp down defensive team. They were leading the nation in scoring, and shooting accuracy. But, as the stats from this game and from the loss against the Beavers indicate, it is the offense where the Ducks have failed most.
There were specific moments during this game when the offense and defense both had serious breakdowns. The first came on the offense; leading 7-2 , two minutes in to the game, the Ducks went the next nearly 6 minutes without scoring a point, missing 9 straight shots; allowing the Huskies to score 10 straight, to take a 12-7 lead. The defense crumbled at the start of the second half. Leading, 35-33, The Huskies, led by Perris Blackwell, who scored only the opening 2 points of the game in the first half, tallied 11 points, on five layups and a field goal. During the opening 7 minutes of the second half, only a Michael Williams-Goss , you guessed it, lay-up and a free throw, interrupted Blackwell’s run.
The Ducks basketball team is similar to the football team in how very much the offense and defense are linked. In basketball it is even more so because it is the same players. And now it is not even on the court where the problem is for the Ducks, it seems to be affecting their thinking and playing.
The early season featured a more frenetic, gambling defense and fast paced offense. Now, the offense is hesitant, a lot of standing around, evidenced by 6 and 10 assists, the last two games. The players have become self conscious, afraid to make a mistake.
I also have to question Coach Altman on at least one thing. At the end of the game, 45 seconds left, the Huskies up by 1. C J Wilcox, the best shooter in the conference has the ball, the time clock is going fast, only a second left, puts up a 3, swish. The Duck guarding him on the shot? John Loyd, all 5’8 of him.
On the post game show, play by play guy, Jerry allen remarked about how too bad it was that the Ducks ended up with Loyd on Wilcox for that shot. But Coach Altman jumped in and said, that, no, that’s what they wanted, that was the plan. Excuse me? Down by one, the best shooter in the conference has te ball, an dyour plan is to put your shortest player on him? The only way having Loyd on Wilcox was going to have any effect at all on the shot was if Wilcox stumbled because he was laughing.