Ducks bounce back, beat Arizona
TUCSON, Ariz. — Oregon played like the Pac-10 contender it is supposed to be.
"Finally," coach Ernie Kent said.
Malik Hairston tied his career high with 29 points and the Ducks shot 56 percent from the field Saturday to beat Arizona at McKale Center for the second year in a row, 84-74.
Oregon (10-4, 1-1 Pac-10) led by as many as 19 in the first half, and the No. 21 Wildcats (10-4, 1-1 Pac-10) never got closer than five in the second.
It was a stark contrast from Oregon's sluggish, turnover-marred 62-54 loss at Arizona State on Thursday night.
"Hopefully, this is the win that can kick-start us into playing how we are accustomed to playing," Kent said. "We looked like the Oregon of old today."
Chase Budinger scored 30 points, two shy of his career best, for the Wildcats, who were without leading scorer and point guard Jerryd Bayless for the third straight game because of a sprained right knee.
"Let's face it," interim coach Kevin O'Neill said. "Without Jerryd we're not as good of a team."
The Ducks have four starters back from a 29-8 team that won the Pac-10 tournament, but they had lost three of their last four games — at Nebraska, Oakland of Michigan, and Arizona State.
"It is huge," Hairston said of the win. "It was just as sweet as the first one last year. We basically want to take off from this."
Hairston was 11-for-17 from the field, 3-of-5 from 3-point range. Overall, Oregon was 10-of-21 on 3s, compared to Arizona's 5-of-21.
"Our defense was kind of slack," Arizona's Jordan Hill said. "They have good 3-point shooters, and they shot the lights out."
Bryce Taylor scored 15 and freshman Kamyron Brown 13 for Oregon. Maarty Leunen added 13 points and 11 rebounds.
"We did not run a lot of set plays," Kent said. "We just basically played a lot of the same stuff that the (Phoenix) Suns do, ran the floor and attacked you. We played loose and we played free and let the game come to us. I thought we played tremendous."
Nic Wise, starting in place of Bayless, scored 16 for Arizona. Hill, on the bench in foul trouble most of the first half, added 12 points, 10 in the second half.
Arizona sliced the lead to 71-66 after Hill's two free throws with 61/2; minutes to play. But Brown's 3-pointer boosted it to 76-68 with 5:39 to go, then Tajuan Porter's 15-footer put the Ducks up 78-68 with 3:38 remaining.
"If you get into a shot-making contest with them, you're going to lose," said O'Neill.
The Ducks used a barrage of 3-pointers in a 20-4 outburst that put Oregon ahead 46-27 on Hairston's shot behind the arc with 3:41 left in the half. With Hill, Arizona's best big man, on the bench, the Wildcats managed one field goal in a 61/2;-minute span.
Budinger, who scored 19 in the first half, cut it to 46-32 with a driving layup, then his three-point play sliced it to 48-35. Oregon played for the last shot, but David Bagga, a seldom-used reserve, knocked the ball loose and Wise's layup at the buzzer trimmed the lead to 48-37 at the break.
Arizona used a 9-2 run to make it 58-52 when Hill rebounded his missed dunk and scored with 12:33 to play. The Ducks, though, followed with Leunen's rebound basket, then a layup by Brown, and the lead was 62-54.
The Ducks shot 60 percent in the first half, including 7-of-12 on 3-pointers.
Hairston had 17 first-half points on 7-for-10 shooting.