The Oregon Ducks went a month between victories, but now they’re rolling with a chance to solidify their position near the top of the Pac-12 standings if they can exact some revenge on the Colorado Buffaloes.
Oregon (12-4, 7-3) has won three straight, the last two coming in a sweep of the Arizona schools, and sits third in the Pac-12 despite having played fewer games than every team in the conference. It can improve its NCAA Tournament credentials Thursday night at home against Colorado (16-6, 10-5).
The Buffaloes won the first meeting, 79-72, in Boulder, Colo., on Jan. 7 when the Ducks were ranked No. 17. Oregon won at Utah two days later but then had its next two games postponed. After a surprising home loss to Oregon State on Jan. 23, the Ducks had three more games postponed and fell to Washington State two weeks ago before going on their current winning streak.
It took a big 3-pointer with 15 seconds left from Chris Duarte to beat Arizona 63-61 on Saturday night, the kind of shot that can give a team momentum heading into the last few weeks of the regular season.
Oregon outrebounded the Wildcats despite not having Eric Williams Jr., who sat with a knee injury after he grabbed nine rebounds in 15 minutes in a win at Arizona State two days earlier.
“We’ve been talking about rebounding,” Duarte said after the win. “We haven’t been doing a good job on the glass lately and that was one of our main focuses.”
Colorado is coming off a lackluster effort at Cal on Saturday night — a team it beat by 29 at home last month — in a 71-62 loss. The Buffaloes have struggled against teams with lesser records, a fact that bothers head coach Tad Boyle.
“It’s frustrating as hell is what it is,” Boyle said Saturday. “It’s frustrating. It doesn’t matter what league you’re in. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the Big Ten or the Pac-12 or the Big Sky, you name the league. You’d better be ready to play every night you step out, because you can get beat.”
To avoid a second straight loss, Colorado will need to contain Duarte. He had 27 in the first meeting, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Buffaloes’ balanced scoring.
–Field Level Media