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Under pressure

(The Register-Guard) — With eight days to prepare for Oregon State on Sunday at Matthew Knight Arena, Oregon has been working on its full-court press, and the Ducks sound likely to use it again.

"It's proven to be a good weapon for us," senior guard Johnathan Loyd said. "We need to utilize it a little more."

Oregon credited its press with helping it outscore USC 18-2 during a stretch of the second half that helped the Ducks rally from a four-point deficit to a 78-66 victory over the Trojans two weeks ago.

Last Saturday, Oregon used its press to erase a 21-point, second-half deficit against Arizona State before suffering a 74-72 loss.

Loyd, Elgin Cook and Waverly Austin came off the bench to spark the defensive pressure against the Sun Devils.

"They brought tremendous energy we needed by pressing," junior guard Joseph Young said. "After that, I thought we need to press a little more."

Other than the 6-foot-11 Austin, Oregon is undersized against most teams in the Pac-12 with 6-8 Mike Moser usually starting alongside 6-8 Richard Amardi or Ben Carter and three guards. Oregon State will start 6-10 Angus Brandt and Eric Moreland, with 6-8 Devon Collier coming off the bench.

"We're a quick team," Young said. "We have more guards than most teams and a deep bench. If somebody is tired, somebody else can come in and execute, so the press is pretty good for us."

Oregon coach Dana Altman has said he wants to press at times, but he also cautioned that matchups can determine how much the Ducks are willing to spread out their defense. Plus, they don't have a wealth of big men to protect the rim if an opponent beats the press.

"We're going to try it," assistant Tony Stubblefield said Friday. "We've pressed on and off this year. It was effective against Arizona State, but we were down 21, so we had to go to something different. We'll try different things, but we have to do a good job defensively trying to put some stops together."

Austin played 15 minutes against ASU and Cook played 14, which were their longest stints in the past couple of weeks. Cook had seven points and four rebounds, and Austin had six rebounds.

"With Waverly, he gave us a big body to go against their big guys, a different look," Stubblefield said. "Those guys brought energy off the bench. Elgin, we had not gotten a lot from him in the last five or six games, but he came in and brought something to that game."

Loyd recalled the press working in the past for the Ducks, specifically two years ago against UCLA when Oregon trailed 37-24 at halftime. The Ducks began to press and outscored the Bruins 15-2 to start the second half en route to a 75-68 win.

"The last time it truly worked that well was UCLA. We were down and put the press on and came back," Loyd said. "The press helps us a lot. It is something we will start using more I think."

Oregon has had more than a week following the ASU loss and spent time refining its full-court defense.

"We worked on our press, we had more time to focus on that rather than what (OSU) does," Loyd said.

The Ducks will show off the results on Sunday.

"You will see more of it," Young said. "We have to be more active. If we are an active team, talk on the defensive end and execute on the offensive end, we'll be pretty good."


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