Oregon doesn't have much experience closing out games with the lead, but it played the part against Oregon State on Saturday.
The Ducks outscored the Beavers during a four-minute stretch late in the game, and Jay-R Strowbridge’s two free throws with seven seconds to go iced Oregon’s 63-59 victory in Pacific-10 Conference men’s basketball in Corvallis, Ore.
“That’s something we haven’t done, so I’m really pleased the guys found a way to make some plays,” said Ducks coach Dana Altman, who coached for the first time in the rivalry, which at 334 games is the most-contested series in college basketball.
“When you haven’t won a lot of games, it takes a while. I think today will help. We’ve got a lot of things to learn, but the exciting part is we’re getting better.”
Both teams made big runs – Oregon in the first half and Oregon State in the second – but it was the Ducks who were able to finish it out with an 11-2 run during a four-minute stretch.
E.J. Singler had 16 points and Strowbridge scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half for Oregon (9-10 overall, 2-5 Pac-10). Garrett Sim added 15 points.
“I thought we finished well,” said Singler, who also had six rebounds. “I thought we composed ourselves and finished the game well.”
Oregon State (8-10, 3-4) got 15 points from Lathen Wallace.
It was the second time in three games the Beavers had to come back from a double-digit first-half deficit. Oregon State erased a big hole against UCLA seven days earlier, but ended up with the same result as it did against Oregon.
“We just have to re-examine how we’re starting games,” said Oregon State coach Craig Robinson, whose team trailed by 17 in the first half. “I think psychologically, we’re not a 3-3 team in the Pac-10. I think that’s what it is. We can’t handle (having) each game harder than the one before.”
At UCLA 68, Stanford 57: Malcolm Lee scored 23 points as the Bruins (13-6, 5-2) overcame 14-point first-half deficit.
Josh Owens had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Cardinal (10-8, 3-4).
Lazeric Jones added 17 points and Tyler Honeycutt 16 for UCLA.
“Every game we’re looking a little bit better, and our confidence is growing,” Honeycutt said. “We’ve known how good we can be.”
The Bruins were without starting center Joshua Smith. The Kentwood High graduate sustained a head injury when he fell while taking a charge in the first half of a victory over California on Thursday night. He sat on the bench in street clothes and is listed as day-to-day.