Jan. 2, 2010
SEATTLE (AP)--Washington's defense of its first outright Pac-10 regular-season title in a half-century is off to a rocky start.
Oregon has the early lead in the conference.
Malcolm Armstead scored 21 points, Michael Dunnigan added 20 and Oregon knocked off No. 17 Washington 90-79 on Saturday, snapping the Huskies' 18-game home winning streak.
``Oregon outplayed us,'' Washington's Quincy Pondexter said. ``There's not much you can say. We didn't come with the same heart, desire and passion they had.''
The Ducks (10-4, 2-0 Pac-10) spread out Washington's defense allowing Armstead and Tajuan Porter to drive to the basket for easy buckets against the Huskies (10-3, 1-1).
The Huskies' pressure-oriented defense was rendered ineffective and their transition offense was never able to get started. The Ducks committed only eight turnovers and were able to keep Huskies' leading scorer Pondexter in check.
``You limit down your turnovers and a team can't get out and run and that's what they like to do - get out and run, push the tempo of the game,'' Armstead said.
``We were able to drive a lot - get in the paint. (Porter) was able to make a lot of shots and I was able to find people because of the ball screens.''
The Ducks shot an impressive 53 percent from the field and 41 percent on 3-pointers. Porter was 4 for 8 from behind the arc.
``We allowed too much penetration with them and they're a good shooting basketball team,'' Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. ``... They're good at moving that ball around and they've got great shooters on the other end of those passes.''
Scott Suggs made a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to give Washington a 24-16 lead midway through the first half.
Porter and Armstead kept the Ducks in the game in the first half. Porter hit a 3-pointer to pull Oregon within four. After Washington extended the lead to eight points, Porter got to the rim for a lay-in and then made another shot to pull the Ducks within 31-28.
LeKendric Longmire stole the ball from Overton leading to a fastbreak lay-in to give the Ducks their first lead of the game. Turnovers by Overton and Elston Turner allowed Oregon to push the lead to 38-33 before the half.
``We had momentum going and from that point on, they got a little bit more confident,'' Pondexter said. ``They tied up the game and from that point on they just wanted it more than us.''
Romar believed the stretch was the turning point in the game. ``We turned the ball over,'' Romar said. ``They got back into it again _ a lot of confidence coming out in the second half. I thought their guards were tremendous. Armstead and Tajuan Porter did a tremendous job controlling the tempo.''
The Ducks continued their scoring run to open the second half. Armstead and Jamil Wilson each scored twice to jump out to a 50-42 lead just three minutes into the half.
Pondexter hit a step-back baseline jumper to pull within five, but Teondre Williams drove for a layup and added a 3-pointer to give Oregon its first double-digit lead of the game at 63-53 with 11:45 left to play.
A pair of free throws from Dunnigan, a runner in the lane from Armstead and a 3-pointer from Williams gave the Ducks a 76-61 edge.
Overton tried to spark a Husky rally late getting to the rim several times and cutting the Oregon lead to 79-70 with 3:36 left to play.
Tajuan Porter answered with a 3-pointer from the right wing to lift the Ducks.
Dunnigan would cap the impressive victory with an emphatic slam on an assist from Porter to push the Oregon lead back to 15.
``Their team wasn't beating us, those two guards were really good tonight,'' Romar said. ``We get a chance to play them again, which we will, we'll definitely have to do a better job with those guards.''
Porter finished with 16 points for the Ducks.
``Malcolm (Armstead) and (Porter) give us a one-two tandem,'' Oregon coach Ernie Kent said. ``You can't press us when they are in the game. They are great ball handlers and they understand the game.''
``I didn't think we had the Husky grit that we needed to have to get this done tonight,'' Romar said. ``I think maybe that was missing tonight.''
With Washington struggling and Oregon already picking up two conference wins on the road, the Ducks are back in the running for the Pac-10 title.
``This conference is up for grabs a little bit, and we have just got to go home and protect our home court,'' Kent said.