BASKETBALL

Oregon well aware winning at Stanford won’t be easy

Feb 21, 2024, 10:13 PM | Updated: Feb 22, 2024, 10:10 am

Andrej Stojakovic #2 of the Stanford Cardinal reacts after making a three-point shot against the US...

PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 10: Andrej Stojakovic #2 of the Stanford Cardinal reacts after making a three-point shot against the USC Trojans during the first half of an NCAA basketball game at Stanford Maples Pavilion on February 10, 2024 in Palo Alto, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

As Oregon gets ready to visit Stanford on Thursday night in Pac-12 action, one thing is crystal clear about the Ducks: Getting the ball to center N’Faly Dante is their best recipe for success.

That wasn’t the case before conference play, as Oregon was without Dante for several weeks while he was dealing with a knee injury. But as Oregon’s last Pac-12 basketball season winds down, the Ducks aren’t shooting well from 3-point range and have had to rely on Dante for offense.

Dante’s 15.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game lead Oregon (17-8, 9-5 Pac-12). His dunk Saturday night with a second to play gave the Ducks a 60-58 road win over in-state rival Oregon State.

“I’m glad we got to beat ‘little bros,'” Dante said after the win, adding that the Ducks “own the state” of Oregon.

The Ducks are trying to earn a top-four seed in next month’s Pac-12 tournament, which comes with a first-round bye. They are in third place, and a loss to Stanford won’t drop them out of the top four.

Stanford (12-13, 7-8) figures to be a tough road test. The Cardinal, who have lost two straight and four of their past five, have four home losses this season. However, they have been tough on the Ducks at home in recent years.

Stanford has won four of the past five meetings in the Bay Area, going back to the 2017-18 season.

In Stanford’s 72-59 loss at second-place Washington State on Saturday, Brandon Angel led the Cardinal with 15 points. Maxime Raynaud is Stanford’s leading scorer at 15.1 points per game, and Angel ranks second at 13 points per contest. Raynaud also tops the squad in rebounding (10 per game).

“We’ve always been a great shooting team, now if we can get both (that and defense) together that would be amazing,” Raynaud recently told the Stanford Daily.

Oregon is 6-1 this season in games decided by five or fewer points. The Ducks are 14-8 against Stanford under coach Dana Altman.

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–Field Level Media

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