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March 9, 2006

Oguchi leads Ducks over WSU

LOS ANGELES - Chamberlain Oguchi scored all but five of his career-high 26 points in the first half, and Oregon beat Washington State 66-55 Wednesday night in the first round of the Pac-10 tournament.

The game marked the end of WSU coach Dick Bennett's career. Bennett announced last week he would retire at the end of the season and turn the team over to his 36-year-old son, Tony.

The 62-year-old Bennett had a 36-49 record in three years at WSU, and an overall mark of 490-306 in 27-plus seasons. Previously, he coached at Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Wisconsin, where he guided the Badgers to the Final Four in 2000.

Seventh-seeded Oregon (14-17) faces No. 12 Washington (24-5) in the quarterfinals Thursday night. The second-seeded Huskies have won the last five games between the teams, and enter the tournament with an eight-game winning streak.

Oguchi's previous career high was 25 points against USC during an 84-78 loss Jan. 28. The 6-foot-5 sophomore from Houston brought an 8.4-point scoring average into the game. He also had six rebounds to equal his career best.

Malik Hairston added 21 points in Oregon's third victory over WSU this season and 11th straight since the Cougars beat the Ducks 63-62 on Feb. 15, 2001. Jordan Kent had 11 rebounds to lead the Ducks to a 38-31 advantage in that department.

Starting guard Aaron Brooks didn't play in the second half because of flu-like symptoms. He had three points and six assists in 16 minutes.

Freshman Aron Baynes had 14 points and seven rebounds to lead 10th-seeded Washington State (11-17). Robbie Cowgill added 13 points and eight rebounds and freshman Chris Matthews scored nine for the Cougars.

Hairston scored five points during a 7-0 run to start the second half, giving Oregon a 44-23 lead. It was 49-28 after Maarty Leunen's basket with 13:15 to play, but the Cougars then outscored the Ducks 18-4 to draw within seven points with 5:07 remaining.

But two free throws by Oguchi and another pair by Hairston made it 57-46 with 4:18 left, and the Cougars didn't pose a serious threat after that.

Oguchi made five 3-pointers in the first seven minutes as Oregon took a 17-8 lead. The Cougars drew within five points before Oguchi scored six during an 11-2 run, putting the Ducks on top 33-19. It was 37-23 at halftime.

Fourth-seeded Arizona (18-11) faces fifth-seeded Stanford (15-12), and No. 13 UCLA (24-6), the regular-season champion and top seed, meets ninth-seeded Oregon State (13-17) Thursday afternoon at Staples Center. Third-seeded California (18-9) plays sixth-seeded Southern California (17-12) in the opener of Thursday night's doubleheader.

Oregon State held off eighth-seeded Arizona State 71-68 in the first game Wednesday night to reach the quarterfinals. All 10 conference teams are participating for the first time since the tournament resumed four years ago after a 12-year break.

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