Behind Elgin Cook's 26 points, Ducks front line dominates only regular-season matchup with Huskies. Five Oregon players score in double figures.
Washington’s 86-73 defeat at No. 13 on Sunday spoke more about the Ducks’ dominance than it did about the Huskies, who lost for the sixth time in the past seven games.
In many ways, the two teams are similar. They’re both athletic. And they’re among the nation leaders in opponent’s turnovers and blocked shots.
However, Oregon is 23-6 and on top of the Pac-12 at 12-4 while Washington is 16-13 and fell to ninth in the standings at 8-9.
The Ducks had more rebounds (40 to 26), free throws (35 to 20), points in the paint (44 to 26), points off turnovers (17 to 8), second-chance points (14 to 7) and bench points (16 to 9). Oregon shot 53.7 percent from the field – its best outing in the past 12 games – and led for 37 minutes and 40 seconds.
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Here’s three takeaways from the game.
ANDREW ANDREWS WILL WIN PAC-12 SCORING TITLE — Andrews probably won’t take any delight publicly when he finishes the regular-season with the highest scoring average in the Pac-12. Still, it’s a significant achievement for the senior guard. He leads the conference with a 20.3 points per game and is guaranteed to finish with a 19.7 scoring average. If Andrews were held scoreless in Wednesday’s regular-season finale against Washington State, Oregon sophomore star Dillon Brooks would need 110 points in his final two games to catch him. That’s not going to happen. Andrews will be the first to say he doesn’t play for records, but he’s going to finish is career as one of the most prolific scorers in UW history. He’s ninth on the Huskies’ all-time scoring list at 1,690 and is poised to pass Eldridge Recasner (1,700) and Isaiah Thomas (1,721). If Washington makes any sort of run in the Pac-12 Tournament or plays beyond the conference tourney, then Andrews could climb as high as fourth may surpassing Todd MacCulloch (1,743), Bob Houbregs (1,774) and Quincy Pondexter (1,786). Of course, Andrews would trade the records for a NCAA tournament berth. For the second straight game, he had a marvelous outing. He followed Wednesday’s 30-point performance with 21 points and eight assists in 36 minutes.
MARQUESE CHRISS NEVER LOOKED COMFORTABLE — Oregon’s gritty and tough front line created a slew of problems for Chriss and UW’s big men. The Ducks keep teams off balance with their three-quarter press and zone defense. Chriss never really got into this game. He had a few near misses on dunks and layups. He kept his composure, but seemed put off by referees when they didn’t give him fouls that were probably deserved. And he did a little too much defensively and picked up unnecessary fouls. Chriss had made tremendous progress being able to play defense without fouling, but he fouled out today for the first time in six games. He finished with just six points on 2-for-6 shooting and three rebounds in 20 minutes. It was his worst performance since a four-point, five-rebounding outing in 17 minutes at Arizona State on Jan. 16. While Chriss struggled, Oregon’s front line scored in double figures. Senior forward Elgin Cook flushed a pair of highlight dunks and finished with 26 points. Sophomore forward Dillon Brooks had 19 points, senior center Chris Boucher 10 and backup forward Jordan Bell 12. The Ducks enjoyed a 40-26 rebounding advantage due to its big men who controlled the paint. Still, there was plenty of pregame chatter among several NBA scouts at Matt Arena who came to see Chriss, who is projected as a first-round pick if he applies for the draft. According to one Eastern Conference executive: “He could go in the lottery. He has incredible bounce. He gets off the floor. The way Washington plays defense, he’s comfortable guarding smaller players in space and that’s something you like to see from big men.”
BETTER RE-FOCUS OR ELSE IT’S DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN — Coach Lorenzo Romar is adamant when he says this team is nothing like last season’s team. He’s quick to say UW’s record doesn’t reflect the progress the team has made. But here’s the thing, if the Huskies lose their next two games they’ll finish 16-15 and match last season’s record. How’s that for irony? And it’s quite possible that’s how the season will end. You got to know Washington State is going to pour everything into Wednesday’s regular-season finale. It’s been a miserable season for the Cougars. They’ve lost 15 straight games. They’re last in the Pac-12 at 1-16. And they’re 9-20 overall, which is their fewest wins since 2002-03. These in-state rivalry matchups can bring out the best in the underdogs and the Cougs are pros at playing spoilers, especially when the Huskies are involved. In their previous meeting, the Huskies escaped Pullman with a 99-95 overtime win on Jan. 9. If Washington loses Wednesday, the Huskies won’t be expected to do much in the Pac-12 Tournament where they’ve lost the opener in the past two years. And Romar will have a difficult time convincing anyone that this season was any better than the previous one.