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February 27, 2012

Ducks take Civil War win on road

The Ducks kept their tournament hopes alive by overcoming a hostile road environment in the Civil War at Oregon State (15-11, 5-11 Pac-12), beating the Beavers 74-73.

Garrett Sim had his best Civil War performance in his eighth and final game against his rivals, and his best game of the season for that matter, pouring in a game-high 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting and 4-of-7 from three. He surpassed the 1,000 point mark in his career in his 130th game, while hitting season highs on points, field goals made, and attempted.

Sim and the Ducks came out early with a three pointer on the first possession, but the Beavers responded quickly with a jumper by Ahmad Starks and the game remained close. After a Garrett Sim foul and TV timeout at the 7:45 mark, Sim got tied up in the Beavers bench on his walk back to Oregon side. Words were exchanged and when all was sorted out, the refs awarded technical fouls to both Sim and Oregon State leading scorer Jared Cunningham-his third personal foul. Cunningham would sit the rest of the half, but the home crowd fired up, propelling the Beavers on a 4-0 run out of the timeout to take their first lead of the game, 21-17.

Olu Asholu who was a force off the bench for the Ducks with 11 points and 6 rebounds in the first half, hit a fade away jumper at the buzzer to give the Ducks a 33-32 lead going into the break. Sim had 12 at the half, and would be showered with boos the remainder of the game every time he touched the ball after the technical foul scuffle.

The second-half continued with physical play from both sides, and the Beavers fed off their crowed to push the lead back to four at 46-42 with 15:27 left to play. The Ducks responded with a 24-12 run, fueled by a fired up Sim, who started to get some help from fellow senior guard, Devoe Joseph. Joseph scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half, including two threes during that run that gave them the largest lead of the game, 66-56 with 5:50 remaining.

The Beavers hung tight in a wild final few minutes, pulling within three with 2:04 left on Ahmad Starks' fourth three-pointer of the game. The teams traded free throws, then after a Joseph missed shot, the Beavers pulled it within two on a put back by Devon Collier. Asholu pulled down a big offensive rebound on a Singler missed shot and was fouled, making 1-of-2 from the line.

On the Beavers last chance down 74-71, a three was missed by Charlie Barton, but was followed up by a tip-slam by Jared Cunningham. The Ducks were able to inbound the ball with 1.6 seconds left on the clock, and escaped Gill Coliseum with the 74-73 victory.

To go along with Sim's 25 points and Joseph's 16, Asholu finished with 16 points and 8 rebounds off the bench. Singler added 12 and Carlos Emory continued to play well off the bench with 4 points, 6 rebounds (team-high 4 offensive rebounds) and a team-high 4 assists.

The Beavers were led by point guard Ahmad Starks and forward Angus Brandt who scored 18 and 16 respectively, and hit a combined 7-of-10 from behind the arc. The Pac-12's leading scorer Jared Cunningham was limited to just 13 points while only playing 29 minutes, his second fewest in conference play.

The Ducks continue their push for a tournament bid with their final home stand this week. Colorado (19-9, 11-5 Pac-12), who is currently tied with the Ducks for fourth in the conference, come to Eugene on Wednesday at 7:30 PM PST. The Utah Utes (6-22, 3-13 Pac-12) end the Ducks regular season schedule on Friday afternoon at 3:00 PM PST.


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