Ducks feeling right at home

first_imgLOS ANGELES – The Oregon Ducks could be crowned kings of Los Angeles. UCLA’s basketball team owned the city before its stunning loss to Cal on Thursday. The way Oregon is playing, it will be the toast of the town with another victory. Reserve guard Alex Pribble yelled, “D-up fellas!” from the bench, but Oregon’s guards were too quick. They probably figured they would take advantage of Cal’s tired legs. “Just run them,” Porter said. “They played three games in three days, and we just wanted to keep them fatigued.” Porter scored a game-high 24 points and Hairston had 22. Anderson and Theo Robertson each had 17 for Cal. The Bears (16-17) had a spirited run through the tournament, earning a surprising win over UCLA – the Pac-10 regular season champion and No. 1 seed – on Thursday. The Bears, already saddled with injuries, lost backup center Taylor Harrison to a knee injury on Friday. He didn’t play in the second half. The way Oregon is playing, it might not have mattered. Staples Center will be home to the Pac-10 men’s basketball tournament for at least five years, officials announced. Fox Sports Net and Staples Center reached an agreement on a new lease that runs through 2012. Other Pac-10 coaches have expressed interest in rotating the tournament to cities around the conference, but that won’t be up for discussion for a while because of the new deal. “We think this is the best venue to create what we set out to be – a first-class event for the fans, athletes and coaches,” said Mitch Huberman, the senior vice president for Fox Sports Enterprises. Staples Center has been home of the tournament since 2002, and the tourney has been in existence for just six years. Other cities made bids to host the tournament, but Los Angeles didn’t appear to be challenged much, if at all. “A lot of buildings and cities were after this,” said Tim Leiweke, president & CEO of AEG and Staples Center. “We agreed to let David Beckham play here, and that’s a huge bonus. “This was an important decision for the Pac-10. It’s rich in cities like Anaheim, Phoenix, San Jose and Seattle.” Leiweke said he was in the middle of negotiating a $30-40 million deal on Thursday when he interrupted the meeting to watch the end of the UCLA-Cal game, which Cal won in overtime. “That was one of the better sporting events I’ve ever seen,” Leiweke said. “The competition is so good in this tournament.” UCLA isn’t the only attraction anymore. USC is benefiting from the success of coach Tim Floyd and so is the tournament. While UCLA’s loss wasn’t good for tournament organizers, it wasn’t the end of the world. USC’s win over Stanford ensured many Los Angeles fans still would sit in Staples Center seats. “The SC program is coming on, and that’s a huge factor in our growth,” Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen said. The Bears have a losing record at 16-17, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t make the NIT. Coach Ben Braun is pushing for a postseason berth. “We’re playing in the best conference in the country,” Braun said. “I think sometimes people put too much weight into what your record is. Records are deceiving. “There are a whole lot of teams who have better records than us that haven’t played as tough of a schedule.” (818) 713-3615. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The Ducks ran out to a big lead, then survived a scare from Cal before ultimately scoring an 81-63 win in Friday’s Pacific-10 Conference tournament semifinals at Staples Center. “I feel like we are playing very good basketball at the right time of the year,” Oregon coach Ernie Kent said. “We took a couple of days off before (the) Washington State (game) and we’ve been re-energized. We are just one of those teams that is peaking at the right time.” center_img Oregon (25-7) flourished, as it usually does, with its speedy backcourt. Freshman Tajuan Porter and junior Malik Hairston combined for 46 points on 18-of-25 shooting. The Ducks shot 62.5 percent from the field, out-rebounded Cal by four and ran up a 21-point halftime lead. “I thought Oregon really stepped up in the first half and really got off to a great start, knocking down some shots,” Cal coach Ben Braun said. “I thought our guys really came out in the second half, and I thought it was indicative of the fight in this team … the energy and the passion.” Cal cut the lead to six points, 59-53, on a Ryan Anderson shot inside with about eight minutes left, but the Bears got no closer. Hairston drove the lane and converted a three-point play to put the Ducks up by nine with seven minutes left. last_img