It took two overtime periods, but the Oregon Ducks were able to pull off the upset that they so desperately needed. Now I don’t want to undermine the fact that Ducks won, but I was pretty confident that the Ducks would come out of UCLA with the win.
So what does this win mean? Well not only were the Ducks victorious at UCLA, but they were able to remain focused and beat the atrocious 1-15 USC Trojans. This means that the Ducks swept both UCLA and USC in Los Angeles for the second year in a row. Along with that, the Ducks are now headed home on a five game winning streak. But before we begin talking about their last two home games, I want to break down how it all happened in L.A.
In the first game, the Ducks were facing a short-handed UCLA team. Both of their top two scorers, Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson, were out for the game because of what head coach Steve Alford called a violation of team rules. However, even without their top two scorers, UCLA mad the game a fight until the finish. Alford’s son Bryce Alford led the Bruins with 31 points. Heading into the second half, the Ducks were winning by a respectable 12 points, and even going into the final minute of the game, they were up by seven points. But all of that was soon irrelevant after Alford contributed 8 points and redshirt senior David Wear hit a last second 3-pointer to tie the game at 71. In the first overtime, both teams were unable to get anything going, and each scored only two points to send the game to a second overtime. In the second over time, the game continued to stay close up till the final minute when the Ducks were able to make seven of their final eight free throws, and held on to deny any possible last-second heroics again.
After the win, the Ducks then headed 13 miles east to take on the last place USC Trojans, who before the game had only won one game throughout conference play. As most would assume that the Ducks would easily handle the Trojans, the game was actually tied 36-36 at half time. However, in the end the Ducks went on to win 78-63. Leading the way was Mike Moser and Joseph Young once again. Moser finished with a double-double (20 points, 12 rebounds), and Young added 16 to help separate the score midway through the second half.
Up next is what matters most now. The Ducks will finish the regular season with two home games versus two of the best teams in the Pac 12. First on Tuesday, March 4, they will take on the Arizona State Sun Devils. Then on Saturday, the Ducks will go up against the third ranked Arizona Wildcats. This could potentially wind up to be the season defining week for the Ducks as they currently sit right on the edge of bubble teams to make it into the March Madness tournament. The Ducks should not only be seeking to improve their status among bubble teams, but also be looking for some redemption after losing by only one basket in each of their meetings earlier this season.