Oregon has enough to move ahead

Oregon has a proud tradition as the first NCAA basketball champion, but the only Final Four talk these days in Eugene involved a late-season slide in which the Ducks lost their last four regular-season games.

Thoughts of a stirring postseason run again could dance through Oregon fans’ heads Wednesday night at Staples Center, though the dream may be short-lived.

The seventh-seeded Ducks will face a far more challenging test after holding on for a 76-69 victory over 10th-seeded Arizona State in the first round of the Pacific Life Pac-10 tournament.

Up next for Oregon (15-16) in a quarterfinal at 6 p.m. Thursday is second-seeded UCLA (22-9), which swept the Ducks during the regular season. The Bruins won by eight points in Eugene and by 10 when the teams met last month at Pauley Pavilion.


Oregon optimists can point to the fact that the Ducks also dropped their first two games against Arizona State (12-19) this season, including a 20-point defeat just last week.

Oregon’s E.J. Singler appeared undaunted, scoring 22 points on eight-for-12 shooting. The sophomore forward also made four of five three-pointers and was one of seven Ducks to make at least one shot from beyond the arc.

Oregon made seven of 12 three-pointers in taking a 38-29 halftime lead, which they extended to 19 points in the second half before withstanding a late charge.

Oregon State 69, Stanford 67: It had been five years since Oregon State won a conference tournament game. But that streak ended when the ninth-seeded Beavers beat eighth-seeded Stanford.

“It’s been a while and it sure feels good,” Oregon State Coach Craig Robinson said.

The Beavers (11-19) last won in the conference tournament March 8, 2006, against Arizona State. They advance to play top-seeded Arizona (25-6) on Thursday.

Oregon State held on behind Jared Cunningham, who made 10 free throws down the stretch, and 15 of 20 in the game. He scored 24.

Cunningham also made the game’s defining play when he got his hand on a shot attempt by Stanford’s Jeremy Green just before the buzzer that could have been a game-winner.

“He got a little bit of my hand, but the refs didn’t call it,” said Green, who scored a game-high 25 points, 20 in the second half. “I could’ve made a better play. I put it on me, not the refs.”

Stanford (15-16) made four of 34 shots in the first half.