Dec. 15, 2006
Back spasms limited Rodney Stuckey to just two points in four minutes of playing time as his absence helped Oregon pull away in the second half and defeat Eastern Washington 100-74 in a non-conference college men's basketball game Friday (Dec. 15) at McArthur Court in Eugene, Ore.
The Ducks went on an 18-2 run spanning the end of the first half and start of the second half to pull away after Eastern trailed by just four late in the first half. Oregon made 60 percent of its shots in the game, including 68 percent in the second half.
"I thought throughout the course of the first half that we could play with them and stay with them, with or without Rodney," said Eagle head coach Mike Burns. "Unfortunately, in the second half they got on a little run and it got away from us. I'm disappointed."
Eastern fell to 5-6 with the loss heading into three-straight home games as EWU doesn't play another road game until Jan. 4. The Eagles host Idaho on Dec. 21, take a short break for Christmas, then start Big Sky Conference play at home on Dec. 28 and 30 versus Montana State and Montana, respectively. All three games begin at 7:05 p.m. Pacific time at Reese Court in Cheney, Wash.
Stuckey, who entered the game with a 25.2 scoring average that ranked third in NCAA Division I, started but left four minutes into the game. It was the first time in 41 games that he has not scored in double figures. Eastern was already playing without guard Marcus Hinton, who has missed the last three games with a foot injury.
"We don't know but we think he will be fine," Burns said of Stuckey. "When that occurs, the back tightens and it's really difficult to play with. When they started happening, we thought it was best to take him out and keep him out the entire game."
"We're a twisted ankle away from Rodney not being able to play in any game on our schedule," he added. "We not only have to understand that could happen, but we have to play better (without him)."
Eastern was held to 46 percent shooting, including just 6-of-24 three-point attempts. The Eagles missed six-straight shots at the end of the first half to allow Oregon to take a 46-37 lead at intermission. A 13-2 run to start the second half opened a 20-point lead for the Ducks, who trailed by no less than 11 the rest of the way.
"You have to give them credit -- they really extend you defensively," said Burns. "They are defending now how Washington has defended the past few years. They pressure every catch and try to force the ball as far away from the basket as possible. In doing that they caused us some problems. I think their defensive performance was what contributed primarily to our poor shooting."
The Ducks are now 9-0 after entering the game ranked 22nd nationally -- the first time they have been ranked since Jan. 27, 2003, when Oregon was also No. 22.
Eastern lost for the ninth-straight time against nationally-ranked teams and a sixth-straight time versus teams from the Pacific 10 Conference. The Eagles are now 1-12 all-time versus ranked teams and 12-64 versus current members of the Pac-10.
"A Rodney Stuckey and Marcus Hinton can really help you," said Burns. "To have both of those players out is tough. But one of the things we're proud of is our great depth. We feel like we can afford to have these things happen and still compete. Tonight was a lesson in that regard. For the first 40 minutes we were very much in it. We need to have the mentality that without any one or two of our top five players, we can compete with anybody on our schedule."
Five Ducks scored in double figures, led by the 24 of Bryce Taylor. Eastern was out-rebounded 42-26 as Oregon had 14 offensive boards. It was the fourth-straight game the Eagles have given up at least that many offensive boards to their opponents.
"The offensive rebounds they had were disappointing," said Burns. "We need to do a better job on the defensive glass."
Eastern now goes six days without a game before taking on Idaho. This is only the second gameless stretch of more than four days for EWU since the season began on Nov. 10.