Long time conference foes Oregon and Washington meet up once again on Wednesday when the 23rd-ranked Ducks head to Alaska Airlines Arena for a Pac-12 bout with the Huskies.
Oregon had been slowed in a season-long three-game losing streak before earning a 73-64 victory against Utah on Saturday. The win allowed the Ducks to hang on to their national ranking, although they did drop from No. 19 to No. 23 this week. Oregon is 19-5 overall and within range of its third-straight season of least 20 wins. The Ducks three-game losing streak has relegated them to a tie for the top spot in the conference standings with No. 9 Arizona and UCLA at 8-3. Oregon remains in the Evergreen State for its next bout against Washington State.
Washington would need quite an effort to get to 20 wins this season after back-to-back losses and setbacks in six of its last seven games leave the Huskies at 13-11 overall with seven regular seasons games left on the docket. Washington is just 5-6 in conference action after starting out 4-0. At Alaska Airlines Arena the Huskies haven't exactly been dominant (8-5) but they will be back there on Saturday against Oregon State.
In 293 previous meetings Washington has been the dominant team of this rivalry with 187 wins against Oregon. The Ducks earned a win in the first meeting this season, 81-76 and have won two of the last three matchups.
Led by 21 points from E.J. Singler, Oregon was able to overcome a tough night shooting the ball to top Utah. The Ducks hit just 39.6 percent of their shots from the floor but had a 41-19 edge in rebounds and outscored the Utes 27-11 from the free-throw line.
Singler (11.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg) has really begun to take the lead for the Ducks who are still missing an important contributor in Dominic Artis (10.2 ppg), out with a foot injury. Singler has scored at least 14 points in four of the last six games and has risen to a tie with Damyean Dotson (11.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg) for the team lead in scoring. Dotson has struggled since the loss of his backcourt running mate with his 16 points against Utah breaking a streak of four games below double figures. Tony Woods (10.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg) and Arsalan Kazemi (8.8 ppg, 9.6 rpg) haven't been asked to be big scorers but have contributed well in the frontcourt nonetheless. In all, Oregon is shooting a solid 45.3 percent from the field while netting 72.9 points per game. The Ducks also boast a +10.1 scoring margin and lead the conference in rebounds (38.5 pg).
Washington trailed by as many as 19 points and never got any closer than five in the second half in its loss to USC. The Huskies shot 44.1 percent for the game but failed to do much at the free-throw line, where they got four points on a total of 14 attempts.
Perhaps more alarming than the loss was the struggles of C.J. Wilcox who managed only eight points against USC. The Huskies can't hope to put together many wins if the 6-foot-5 guard struggles, as he is the fifth best scorer in the Pac-12 (17.7 ppg). Teaming with Wilcox in the backcourt is 3-point specialist Scott Suggs (12.0 ppg) and point-man Abdul Gaddy (11.2 ppg, 4.0 apg). Neither have the same ability to take games over like Wilcox. Aziz N'Diaye (10.7 ppg, 9.8 rpg) is nearly averaging a double-double for the Huskies who are rather shallow up front. The Huskies are just eighth in the conference in scoring (68.9 ppg), while placing ninth in field-goal percentage (.441) and rebounds (36.4 pg).