Oregon 81, Santa Clara 65
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) _ Oregon’s Anthony Taylor, the leading scorer in the Pacific 10 Conference, scored 32 points Thursday night to lead the Ducks to an 81-65 victory over Santa Clara in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.
Frank Johnson added 23 points, including four 3-pointers, for the Ducks, 16-13. Jens Gordon scored 21 points for Santa Clara, which ended the season at 20-11.
The lead changed hands 11 times in the first half before Santa Clara took a 37-31 halftime lead. Oregon roared back in the second half, taking a 65-43 lead on two free throws by Taylor with 9:38 to play.
Santa Clara scored 11 straight points to cut Oregon’s lead to 71-61 with 4:00 to play, but the Ducks bounced back on two free throws by Johnson and three by Randy Grant to take a commanding 76-63 lead with 2:24 remaining.
Grant finished with 11 points and had 13 rebounds.
Roland H’Orvath scored 13 points and Dan Weiss, who fouled out with 11:29 remaining, finished with 11.
The Oregon victory avenged a 66-53 loss to Santa Clara in the opening round of the 1984 NIT.
Oregon Coach Don Monson was quick to credit Taylor for turning up the tempo of the Ducks’ attack.
″When Anthony Taylor got on fire there for awhile, I think it broke the game open,″ Monson said. ″My kids did an outstanding job of being aggressive and going to the boards, playing good defense and doing the things we asked them to do on offense.″
Now he says he wants to get two more victories under his belt to get some national exposure.
″What we need to do now is win two more and get back to New York to really get some recognition,″ Monson said. ″Back there, the time zone is such they know you’re playing. We play out here, and it seems the score doesn’t get back there for three days.″
Santa Clara Coach Caroll Williams said his Broncos just lost their rhythm early and ″never got control of the game.″
″The Ducks played well but we had a lot to do with that because of our lack of agressiveness,″ he said. ″Our lack of patience hurt us in the second half.″