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M. Basketball: Card’s losing streak stretches to four

The Stanford men’s basketball team failed to break out of an offensive slump on Thursday night, losing just its second home game of the year, 67-59, to Oregon. The loss was the Cardinal’s fourth in a row and marked the seventh consecutive game that the team failed to eclipse the 60-point mark.

Stanford (10-9, 3-5 Pac-10) was overcome by the feisty full-court press of the Ducks’ defensive unit, turning the ball over 17 times on the game. Coupled with 6-for-19 shooting from three-point range and 61.9-percent free-throw shooting, the Cardinal was unable to come away with a much-needed victory.

Dwight Powell, above, went 6-for-8 with 14 points. (IAN GARCIA-DOTY/The Stanford Daily)

“I don’t think we played particularly well,” Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins said. “We turned the ball over too many times.”

For Oregon, the victory marked the first time in 25 years that the Ducks (10-10, 3-5) won in the confines of Maples Pavilion. Oregon head coach Dana Altman was relieved to put that streak into the history books.

“We needed that,” Altman said. “That was a big one for us. It’s something that we finally got out of the way.”

Freshman forward Dwight Powell led the way for Stanford with 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting from the field. He and classmate Anthony Brown, who netted 11 points on the night, were the lone bright spots for a seemingly dysfunctional offensive squad.

“Dwight gave us some energy,” Dawkins said. “I thought he rebounded and scored the ball well. He was aggressive, he was attacking.”

Junior guard Jeremy Green, who entered the game as the Card’s leading scorer at 14.7 points per game, continued to struggle from the floor, hitting just three of his 10 attempts en route to a disappointing 13-point performance.

“I thought Jeremy’s shots for the most part were good,” Dawkins said. “When you’re getting looks like that, it’s also a function of, you’re going to have periods and times of games where it doesn’t go for you how you want it to.”

Noticeably underutilized in the game was redshirt junior Josh Owens. The star forward had a string of strong performances leading up to Thursday’s matchup, but recorded just 23 minutes on the night. He finished with four points on just three shot attempts.

Dawkins credited the Duck defense with denying ball-entry to his best low-post presence.

“We couldn’t get it inside,” Dawkins said. “We want him to get the ball more. It’s a function of us becoming better and seeing what’s available.”

Oregon played far from flawless basketball. The Ducks committed 18 turnovers and had just 10 assists on the evening. The difference, however, came at the free-throw line, where the Ducks went 12-for-13.

The Ducks were fueled by redshirt senior forward Joevan Catron. The 245-pound big man muscled his way through the Cardinal frontcourt to the tune of 15 points and six rebounds. Altman took advantage of Catron’s strength down low and ran a high-low game with senior guard Jay-R Strowbridge. The 5-foot-10 speedster fearlessly slashed his way into the paint and revived a Duck offense that stalled near the end of the first half.

Despite a strong effort on defense, Powell stressed the need for improvement on that end of the floor.

“We just gotta do it on defense first,” he said. “We score best when we’re getting stops.”

Stanford began its night by scoring just two points in the first five minutes of action. Timely long-range shooting by Green and Brown prevented the game from getting out of hand. The two teams entered the break deadlocked at 29-29, thanks in large part to unforced turnovers by Oregon.

The Cardinal came out in the second half with better intensity and rhythm, and led 38-32 at the 15:57 mark. That would be Stanford’s largest, and last, lead of the game.

The Ducks never looked back after going on a 12-point run, stretching the score to 44-38. Back-to-back buckets by Powell and junior guard Jarrett Mann, along with a free throw by Brown, closed the margin to three points, but Oregon sophomore guard E.J. Singler made a clutch three-point play to effectively ice the game at 63-57.

Stanford will look to erase its longest losing streak of the year when it hosts Oregon State on Saturday at Maples Pavilion. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.