HARDWOOD SUCCESS and A BIG DAY AHEAD!

by Frank Baldwin March 11, 2016

RALLY TO CLOSE FIRST HALF FUELS OREGON'S VICTORY OVER UW

By Rob Moseley

LAS VEGAS — The most important stretch of Oregon’s Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinal win Thursday over Washington came with the Ducks’ leading scorer playing despite foul trouble, the team’s second-leading scorer on the bench and a seldom-used freshman defending the Huskies’ senior point guard. The UO men were blitzed out of the gates Thursday afternoon, not unexpected given the fact UW played the day before and was able to pick up where it left off. Oregon trailed by 12 just past the midway point of the first half, before scoring 13 straight to set the tone for what became an 83-77 victory in the MGM Grand’s Garden Arena. “Coach told us it was going to be a 40-minute fight, and that they already had their warmup,” said UO senior Chris Boucher, who leads the Ducks against Arizona in the semifinals Friday (6:15 p.m., Pac-12 Networks). “It’s not like we knew they would start fast, but we knew they could put together a run at any time. We needed to fight back, and stay together.”

No. 8 Oregon, the top seed in the conference tournament, finally counterpunched after the Huskies took a 31-19 lead with 6:26 to play. To that point the Ducks had little answer for David Crisp on the perimeter, where he hit three three-pointers in a span of 59 seconds, or Marquese Chriss in the post, where he blocked two first-half shots and disrupted several others. The Huskies were winning, and their confident swagger was growing more pronounced with each passing minute. Oregon’s leading scorer Dillon Brooks had been on the bench with two early fouls, but UO coach Dana Altman summoned him with 8:15 left in the half, and it was Brooks who scored — with Chriss defending — to spark the Ducks’ 13-0 run.

Chriss hit a three-pointer just before halftime. But that came after a 20-4 run by the Ducks that featured two Boucher three-pointers, four of senior Dwayne Benjamin’s season-high seven rebounds in the game, and a precocious performance by freshman Kendall Small on UW’s Andrew Andrews. “They were playing for their tournament lives; everybody has a lot at stake,” said UO sophomore Casey Benson, who was also on the floor as the Ducks rallied. “So we knew they were going to come out guns blazing. We just had to weather that storm.” Small, who played just 12 minutes in the last five games of the regular season, entered with 4:44 left in the half and the Ducks down 31-24. Initially, he may have only been needed to give Tyler Dorsey an extended rest until the under-4 media timeout. Instead, Small helped fuel a run of six straight defensive stops for the Ducks. Small was whistled for two fouls late in the first half, as Andrews appeared to be trying to get a tone with the freshman. But Small got the last word, stripping Andrews and scoring in transition to put the Ducks up 39-35. “Defense is 10 percent skill and 90 percent heart,” Small said. “That’s what I relied on. I’m pretty happy with my performance, and the team’s performance. That was a big point of the game, because we were down. It gave us a push.”

Benjamin had a quiet night offensively, but his seven rebounds helped the Ducks outrebound the more athletic Huskies, 46-33. During Oregon’s run late in the first half he had four rebounds, all on the defensive end to help Oregon post a 17-8 edge in offensive rebounds. “They’re probably the most athletic team in the conference,” Benjamin said. “But it’s whoever wants it. Recently we’ve decided we’ve just got to have it. We need to. We’re not the biggest team, but we’re athletic too, so we have to use that.” Washington fought back to tie the game once early in the second half, but the Huskies never led again. Momentum had shifted.

"Those guys were playing hard," said Elgin Cook, the Ducks' second-leading scorer, who was on the bench for the first-half rally but ended up matching Boucher's 19 points to lead the Ducks in the game. "They were playing hard. So when I got back in, I wanted to match that energy. They did a great job getting us going." Despite Chriss’ three-pointer to close the first half, the Ducks had seen how things might be if they maintained their intensity defensively and on the glass. “They jumped on us,” Benjamin said. “But any time you get jumped on like that and you respond in a positive way — like we did, coming right back — it was big for us. We didn’t lay down. Once we got in the locker room we said, ‘OK, that’s how we’ve got to play.’” The game wasn’t over after Oregon’s resounding finish to the first half. But a tone had been set, one that carried the Ducks through the second half and into Friday’s semifinals.

Boucher became the first player in Pac-12 history with 100 blocked shots and 30 3-pointers in a season.

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Oregon's 26 entries in today's Indoor Championships

 

The field for the 2016 NCAA Indoor Championships was decided on Tuesday and Oregon Track and Field will have a school record 26 entries into the national meet, 16 for the women’s team and 10 for the men’s team.

The 16 women’s entries, the most in Oregon history as well as the most of any school this year, is headlined by Raevyn Rogers who holds the top time in the 800 by more than three seconds. The 800 will be a big event for the Ducks, with Annie Leblanc and Brooke Feldmeier joining their top-ranked teammate. Multiple entries are a common occurrence for the Ducks this year who will be represented by two or more people in six of their seven individual events.

Although smaller in numbers, the men’s team is loaded with top talent. Edward Cheserek (3,000 and 5,000) Devon Allen (60 hurdles) and Blake Haney (mile) all have the top times in their respective events.

The NCAA Championships will be contested March 11-12 in Birmingham, Ala., and broadcast on ESPN3. The men’s team is coming off back-to-back NCAA Indoor Championships while the women’s team finished second last season after five-consecutive championships.

For the full list of entries click here.

Women's Entries

Event

Name

Mark

NCAA Rank

60

Jasmine Todd

7.20

3rd

60

Hannah Cunliffe

7.21

4th

200

Deajah Stevens

23.14

6th

200

Hannah Cunliffe

23.24

12th

800

Raevyn Rogers

2:00.90

1st

800

Annie Leblanc

2:03.84

8th

800

Brooke Feldmeier

2:03.99

9th

3,000

Alli Cash

9:10.55

14th

5,000

Waverly Neer

15:48.93

13th

5,000

Molly Grabill

15:52.94

15th

60 Hurdles

Sasha Wallace

7.98

3rd

60 Hurdles

Alaysha Johnson

8.14

10th

4x400

 

3:32.40

8th

DMR

 

11:03.61

8th

Shot Put

Brittany Mann

17.08m

10th

Shot Put

Itohan Aikhionbare

16.82m

16th

 

Men's Entries

Event

Name

Mark

NCAA Rank

Mile

Blake Haney

3:56.36

1st

Mile

Sam Prakel

3:57.95

6th

3,000

Edward Cheserek

7:40.51

1st

5,000

Edward Cheserek

13:35.86

1st

5,000

Jake Leingang

13:46.41

11th

60 Hurdles

Devon Allen

7.60

1st

DMR

 

9:29.89

11th

Triple Jump

Nate Moore

16.14m

12th

Weight Throw

Greg Skipper

22.11m

5th

Heptathlon

Mitch Modin

5,713

11th

 

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Prakel wins Elite 90 Award

Courtesy: GODUCKS.COM

 

 

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Sam Prakel was named the 2016 recipient of the NCAA Elite 90 Award for men’s indoor track and field, Thursday. Prakel, a junior academically, has a 3.97 GPA while pursuing a major in biochemistry.

Prakel will compete in the mile on Friday at the NCAA Indoor Championships, where he has the sixth-fastest time in the field. Prakel ran a personal best of 3:57.95 this season at the Husky Classic, the eighth fastest time in school history.

The Elite 90, an award founded by the NCAA, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The Elite 90 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA's championships.

Eligible student-athletes are sophomores or above who have participated in their sport for at least two years with their school. They must be an active member of the team, traveling and a designated member of the squad size at the championship. All ties are broken by the number of credits completed.

Prakel is the third Oregon student-athlete to win the award and follows Ben DeJarnette who won the award for cross country in 2012.

 

 

 




Frank Baldwin
Frank Baldwin

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