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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘The Pit’ always a challenge

    CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon men’s basketball team is the Pacific 10 Conference cellar dweller, but make no quacks about it -ÿthe Ducks’ historic arena in Eugene, Ore., McArthur Court, is never an easy place for visitors to win.

    “”It’s probably the craziest arena, so we’re just trying to get our young guys ready for that,”” said UA point guard Nic Wise.

    Arizona (15-8, 5-5 Pac-10), which has lost two of its last three times in Mac Court, takes on the Ducks at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The Wildcats will try to extend their four-game winning streak and prolong the losing streak for Oregon (6-16, 0-10), which lost to No. 24 ASU Thursday night, 66-57.

    But just because the Ducks are having an off-season doesn’t mean the Wildcats are shrugging them off.

    “”I think they’re talented, I just think they’re young,”” said UA interim head coach Russ Pennell. “”Sometimes when you lose a few games you can get discouraged and you just have to fight through that.””

    McArthur Court is the second-oldest on-campus arena currently in use. “”The Pit,”” as it is commonly called, is now in its 82nd year, but it won’t be around too much longer, as the university will soon have Matthew Knight Arena on campus, which is said to hold about 12,500 – over 3,000 more than the current arena.

    But even those 9,087 that Mac Court holds can get brutally loud because of the arena’s unique design, virtually stacking fans on top of the court.

    “”We’ve played in some other places that was really loud,”” Pennell said. “”Vegas was really loud, Texas A&M was loud.

    “”I think we’ll play well,”” Pennell added. “”Mac Court’s always a tough place to play. It’s a great basketball venue.””

    The Wildcats take with them to Mac Court the confidence of winning their first road game and having an improved chemistry, on and off the court -ÿfrom the largest elements, down to the finest details.

    “”I think we’re finding out where people like the ball,”” said Arizona forward Chase Budinger. “”I know (forward) Jordan (Hill) loves the ball in transition. It allows for him to run toward the rim and spin real fast. I think we’re getting better right now and hopefully we’ll just keep on getting these wins.””

    Going into Thursday, Oregon allowed the most points in the conference (75.9) and made the least amount of its shots (.410 percent from the field). Despite its down year, however, Pennell said the Wildcats still see Oregon as a threat.

    “”Believe me, we’re not going to take them lightly, I don’t care what their record is,”” Pennell said. “”I know they’re dangerous, especially on their home floor.””

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