Saturday , Feb , 17 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Important Pac-10 clash pits No. 15 Oregon at Stanford

Palo Alto, CA (Sports Network) – Jockeying for position in the middle of
the Pac-10 standings, the 15th-ranked Oregon Ducks and Stanford Cardinal
will battle it out this evening from the Maples Pavilion.

The Ducks’ trip to the Bay Area did not start out like they had hoped, as
the team dropped a 63-61 decision at California on Thursday. The loss was the
second straight and fourth in the last five games, dropping Oregon to 8-6 in
conference play.

The Cardinal are just a game behind that at 7-5, but enter this tilt
following a 70-55 rout of Oregon State on Thursday. The win brought an end
to a two game skein, but with four ranked opponents in the final five games of
the season, more wins may be hard to come by for Stanford.

The Cardinal hold an 83-41 edge in the all-time series with Oregon, but the
Ducks are seeking the regular season sweep after posting a 66-59 decision in
Eugene on January 18th. Stanford however, has won the last 20 matchups at home
in this series, with Oregon’s last win in Palo Alto coming during the
1985-86 season.

The Ducks are certainly an offensive-minded team in 2006-07, as they are
averaging a hardy 76.7 ppg. Star guard Aaron Brooks is the main reason for the
team’s impressive record, as he is not only a prolific scorer (17.3 ppg), but
also gets the job done in terms of passing (team-high 108 assists) and on the
boards (4.6 rpg). Bryce Taylor can fill up the basket as well (15.0 ppg),
while Tajuan Porter (13.3 ppg), Malik Hairston (12.1 ppg) and Maarty Leunen
(11.0 ppg) complete a productive starting five. Leunen has really stepped up
his game in the middle, as he leads the team in both rebounding (9.1 rpg) and
steals (40). The Ducks trailed by eight points at the half thanks to a mere
.345 shooting performance in the first 20 minutes at Cal. The team upped that
to .481 in the second half, but could not post the victory. Porter led the
team with 14 points, thanks to four three-pointers. Brooks added 12
points, seven rebounds and six assists, while Taylor finished with 11 points.

Stanford will try to slow things down against Oregon, as they simply lack the
offensive arsenal to win a shootout with the Ducks. Defensive pressure has
been the name of the game for the Cardinal this season, with the team allowing
just 65.4 ppg, on a modest .403 shooting. Offensively, the team has a trio of
double-digit threats, led by Lawrence Hill’s 16.1 ppg. Anthony Goods (13.0
ppg) would be helpful in this game, but he missed the Oregon State game and
will be out for this one as well with an ankle sprain. Without Goods in the
lineup, brothers Brook and Robin Lopez will need to elevate their games even
more. Brook is averaging 10.9 ppg, while Robin adds 8.6 ppg. Brook has done
just that over the last eight games, averaging 14.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and
3.2 blocks per game. In the win over Oregon State, Hill led the way with 23
points, on 9-of-17 shooting. Brook Lopez was right behind him with 20 points,
while Fred Washington finished things off with 12 points.