For some bubble teams, picking up a signature victory can result in them resting on their laurels and suffering a setback (or two) in the aftermath. That hasn’t been the case for Oregon, which followed up a home win over then-No. 9 Utah with road victories over California and Stanford this weekend in their first sweep of the Bay Area road swing since 1976.
And in the Ducks’ 73-70 win at Stanford on Sunday, freshman forward Jordan Bell produced an impressive sequence that at the time changed the momentum of the game.
It all started on the defensive end, and that’s fitting for Bell considering the fact that he’s already the school record-holder for blocked shots in a season (81 and counting). With a teammate down on the floor, Bell rotated over to block a Stefan Nastic layup attempt and then took off to the other end of the court.
And as Joseph Young approached half court Bell raised his right hand, calling for the lob to the basket, and he finished the play with a two-handed dunk. Yet while this was an impressive play by one of the Pac-12’s best athletes, what’s more impressive is the way Dana Altman’s team has played in close games.
With Sunday’s win the Ducks, who are 22-8 overall and 12-5 in conference play, won for the eighth time in their last nine games and is now 6-0 in games decided by five points or less. And given the many new faces, including Bell, on the roster that’s a noteworthy achievement for the Ducks.
Also of note is the fact that Oregon has wrapped up a first-round by in the Pac-12 tournament, which puts them in position to avoid a “nothing to win but everything to lose” resume-killer against one of the conference’s poorer teams in their tournament opener.
Video credit: Fox Sports 1