The Ducks ran out to a big lead, then survived a big scare from Cal but ultimately held on for an 81-63 win in Friday’s tournament semifinal at Staples Center. Oregon has won five in a row after suffering through a stretch in which it lost six of eight. Coach Ernie Kent credited a break he gave his team before a game against Washington State on Feb. 22 for refreshing the Ducks. “I feel like we are playing very good basketball at the right time of the year,” Kent said. “We took a couple of days off before (playing) Washington State and we’ve been re-energized. We are just one of those teams that is peaking at the right time.” Oregon (25-7) flourished, as it usually does, with its speedy backcourt. Freshman Tajuan Porter and junior Malik Hairston combined to make 18 of 25 shots and score 46 points. The Ducks shot 62.5 percent from the field, outrebounded Cal by four and built 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 Ducks’ lead to six points at 59-53 on a Ryan Anderson shot inside with about eight minutes left, but that was as close as the Bears would get. Hairston drove the lane and converted a three-point play to put the Ducks up by nine points with seven minutes left, which made Braun put his hands to his head and grimace. Reserve guard Alex Pribble yelled: “D-up fellas!” from the bench, but Oregon’s guards were too quick. They figured they would be able to take advantage of Cal’s tired legs. LOS ANGELES – The Oregon Ducks could be crowned kings of Los Angeles. UCLA’s basketball team owned the city before its crippling loss to Cal on Thursday. The way Oregon is playing, with one more victory it will be the toast of the town. “Just run them,” Porter said. “They played three games in three days and we just wanted to keep them fatigued.” Porter had a game-high 24 points and Hairston added 22. Anderson and Theo Robertson each had 17 for Cal. Cal (16-17), already saddled with injuries, lost backup center Taylor Harrison to a knee injury, and he didn’t play in the second half. The way Oregon is playing, it might not have mattered. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
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