Jordan Bell became the fourth different player to score 25 points or more in a game as Oregon easily defeated Cal 86-63. The 6-foot-9 forward scored a career high 26 points on 11-of-12 from the field. He joined Tyler Dorsey, Chris Boucher and Dillon Brooks as players who were able to put a dominating game together.
While the win extended many streaks, Brooks might be the story that overshadows the big win, however.
Just before halftime, it appeared that Dylan Ennis inadvertently stepped on Brooks’ left foot, the same one that was surgically repaired in the off-season. Oregon head coach Dana Altman said that his star player will be re-evaluated in the next couple of days and the team would go from there.
If the Oregon All-American did suffer a season-ending injury, the Duck season will have taken a huge and unwanted detour. This team is still really good without him, as the Bears found out, but a Final Four appearance may be out the window.
But at least for this night, Brooks’ absence in the second half didn’t affect the outcome. The Ducks were up 44-30 at half and once Oregon figured out how to play without their on-the-floor leader, it overwhelmed Cal on both sides of the floor.
The Bears briefly cut into the deficit in the beginning of the second half with six straight points to pull within eight, Oregon went on a 7-0 run and never looked back.
Dorsey scored 16 and Casey Benson knocked down all five of his three-point attempts for a season high of 15 points. Dorsey also had six assists, many of those passes going to Bell for easy dunks.
“People had to step up. When players go down like Dillon Brooks, people have to step up, and that’s what we did tonight — on the defensive end and the offensive end,” Dorsey said.
Bell got on track early in the first half with two mid-range jumpers and those shots seemed to have given the junior a dose of confidence. The Bears inside personnel of Ivan Rabb and Kingsley Okoroh never had an answer on how to stop Bell.
It was clear early on that the Duck defensive game plan was to stop Rabb at all costs. The 6-11 sophomore came into the game scoring nearly 16 points and pulling down 11 rebounds per contest. But the Duck defense harassed him all night and Rabb was held to just four points and six rebounds in 34 minutes of action.
Cal was kept to within shouting distance in the second half thanks to Jabari Bird’s 21 points. He led his team with five treys, but he took 19 shots from the field. Guard Charlie Moore was the only other Bear in double figures with 10.
The Bears are one of the top defensive teams in the conference along with the Ducks, but Oregon shocked the visitors in the first half with nine treys in the first 20 minutes. The Ducks ended the game shooting 58 percent from the field on 29-of-50 shooting and 11-of-24 from long range.
With the win, Oregon improved to 17-2 overall and 6-0 in league play. It was also the teams 37th straight home victory, its 14th straight league win (11 regular season and three in conference tournament) dating back to last season and 15th straight overall victory. The 15-game win streak is the program’s longest since 1913.
Oregon will try to break that 104-year old record on Saturday when it hosts Stanford at 3 pm on the Pac-12 Network.
~ Don Smalley