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Oregon opens key road trip at struggling Washington

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The uphill climb to a 20-win season sees Oregon head north to begin a three-game trip when the Ducks face Washington in a Pac-12 Conference contest Wednesday night in Seattle.

Oregon (15-11, 9-6 Pac-12) has won four of its last six as it attempts to improve its NCAA Tournament resume and reach the championship event for the eighth time in the last 11 years.

The Ducks’ only losses during the recent stretch have been to nationally ranked teams — Arizona and UCLA — the latter being a 70-63 decision on Saturday despite Jermaine Couisnard’s 19 points.

The schedule is significantly lighter the rest of the regular season, with the trip to Washington, Washington State and Oregon State followed by Cal and Stanford coming to town. Those five schools currently occupy the bottom five spots in the Pac-12 standings.

Oregon coach Dana Altman blames a slow start to the season for putting his team in its must-win predicament, but he also sees the door to the postseason slightly ajar.

“We lost our opportunities early,” Altman said this week. “You have to take care of the ones you have to take care of. We have five games left, three on the road and two at home. We’re going to have to find a way to win.”

The Ducks will be facing Washington for the only time in the regular season. Their most recent trip to Seattle did not go well, ending up in a 78-67 defeat last March.

The Huskies (13-13, 5-10) have lost four in a row, the last three on the road. They had won three straight at home — over Stanford, Cal and Arizona State — before running into then-No. 6 Arizona in their most recent home contest.

Washington coach Mike Hopkins saw his club’s most recent defeat — 56-51 at Washington State on Saturday — as a reflection of the entire season.

“It just seemed like we dug ourselves a hole,” Hopkins said. “We did a good job of fighting back. These guys stayed together.”

Braxton Meah paced the Huskies in the loss with an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double.

–Field Level Media

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