Nothing lasts forever. Not McArthur Court and not the Oregon State men’s basketball team’s losing streak in it, as it turns out.
OSU beat Oregon in Eugene for the first time in almost 17 years, and in the final Civil War at Mac Court, by the score of 64-57 on Sunday night, thanks mostly to an uninspired performance by the Ducks.
If this whole season is one big audition for coach Ernie Kent to keep his job, as has been suggested, then Sunday’s was a failed interview.
After the game, it was tough to decide which was more surprising — that this was an Oregon State team that, in its last game, had suffered a 51-point beating at the hands of small-time Seattle University, or that this was an Oregon team that, in its previous two games, had swept a road trip to Washington and Washington State for the first time since the 1999-2000 season and opened the Pac-10 Conference schedule 2-0.
UO sophomore Michael Dunigan, last week’s Pac-10 Player of the Week, finished with a quiet eight points and eight rebounds after attempting just two field goals and getting out-played by OSU’s Roeland Schaftenaar, who scored all of his 11 points while Dunigan was trying to guard him.
Tajuan Porter led Oregon with 20 points, but it took him 20 shot attempts to do it. The next closest to Porter’s field-goal attempt total was Malcolm Armstead, who put up eight shots. He was also the second-leading scorer, with nine points.
Porter finished 6-for-20 from the field, 3-for-11 from three-point range and refused to pass the ball during the final minute of play, when Oregon tried to mount one last charge in a game in which the Ducks never led.
The Beavers weren’t spectacular, but they were at least more balanced on offense, with Seth Tarver and Daniel Deane scoring 15 points apiece to join Schaftenaar in double figures. OSU snapped Oregon’s six-game winning streak and 16-game streak in Civil War games played at Mac Court. The last time the Beavers beat the Ducks in Eugene was in March of 1993.
Despite the poor play from the home team — which managed to make 35.2 percent of its field-goal attempts, including 20 percent from three-point range — there were plenty of highlights for UO fans.
Former UO star and NBA player Terrell Brandon was honored in a short ceremony before tipoff as his No. 10 jersey was retired, bringing about what would be the only standing ovation of the night; the three guys who sang the National Anthem were tremendous — a cool harmony blend of R&B and jazz that received a rousing ovation (to be fair, everyone was already standing) and led several in attendance to mouth “wow” when it was over; and at halftime, a gentleman nailed five three-pointers in a row — shooting from over the top of his head as if he were performing a sideline throw-in during a soccer game — to win his entire section a free Bloomin’ Onion at Outback Steakhouse. He tossed up, and missed, one last attempt after drilling the required five in a row, finishing the night an impressive 5-for-6 from three-point range to give him one more three-pointer than the entire UO team, which went 4-for-20.
And those were the highlights on this night, if you were a Duck fan.
The lowlights were many, and perhaps the worst of them all was how out-of-sync the Ducks looked from the opening tip. They didn’t score a basket until almost four minutes had ticked off the clock, and during that time, they turned the ball over four times. No lineup that Kent trotted out on the court seemed to play as a unit, as a team, and if the Ducks can’t get that together, it’s gonna be a long season.
And if that happens, that 2-0 start, and that rare Washington road sweep, and Kent’s job … all will become distant memories.