EUGENE &

Despite five players in double figures and 14 3-pointers, it was Oregon's defense that was the all the talk following the Ducks' 71-58 against Washington on Thursday.

Bryce Taylor led the way for Oregon (15-9, 6-6) with 15 points and the Ducks held the Huskies (13-12, 4-8) to 39-percent shooting, outrebounded them 35-33 and scored 19 points off 13 Washington turnovers.

"Defense leads us to everything," said Maarty Leunen, who recorded 10 points and 10 rebounds. "If we play tough and keep them to a low field-goal percentage, we know we have a good shot because we can beat them on the other end of the court."

They certainly did that on Thursday, as Malik Hairston scored 13, Churchill Odia had 12 points and Joevan Catron 10 points for the Ducks, who shot 43 percent from the field.

Oregon had lost four of five before posting consecutive wins against California and Washington by an average of 17.5 points.

"We see where we're at in the season, six games left," Taylor said. "We have aspirations of playing in the NCAA Tournament. There's that sense of urgency. It's now or never and we have to take advantage of the opportunity in front of us."

Justin Dentmon scored 16 to lead the Huskies, who were playing their first game since a 71-61 upset of No. 5 UCLA last Sunday. Jon Brockman also recorded 13 points and 11 rebounds for Washington.

The Ducks combined for 32 3-pointers in their last two victories, including a school record 18 against the Golden Bears.

On Thursday they were 14-for-25 from long range. Odia had four 3-pointers on five attempts, while Taylor made three.

Oregon made six 3-pointers in the first 9:30 of the second half to turn a 33-27 halftime lead into a 56-38 advantage.

Taylor got the Ducks going with a 3-pointer at the 18:34 mark of the second half. Leunen followed with the first of his two second-half 3-pointers and then Taylor sank another to put Oregon up 43-29 with 16:04 to play.

Ahead 45-34 with 13:30 to play, Hairston scored on a dunk off a rebound, Leunen hit a 3-pointer and Hairston added back-to-back 3's to give Oregon a 56-38 lead with 10:30 remaining.

"In the second half they did everything we didn't want them to," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. "The first half wasn't as bad...but there was a breakdown in the second half."

A free-throw by Catron gave the Ducks their largest lead, 68-48, with 2:28 to play, but the Huskies finished on 10-3 run.

"I thought we were outstanding defensively," Oregon coach Ernie Kent said. "Offensively, we know where we are, but defensively, I think we are really coming around."

Washington guard Ryan Appleby, a senior who has torched the Ducks in his career, was held to eight points.

Appleby took an intentional forearm to the face by former Oregon guard Aaron Brooks at the Pacific-10 Conference tournament in 2006 and declined to shake Brooks' hand at the start of a game at McArthur Court last season. He was booed heavily by the Oregon student section each time he touched the ball on Thursday.

He missed his first five 3-point attempts and didn't score his first points until making a — at the 14:16 mark of the second half. He finished 3-for-10 from the field overall and 2-for-7 from the 3-point line.

"It just didn't go down for me tonight," said Appleby, who scored 19 points in Washington's 78-70 win against Oregon in Seattle earlier this season. "As a whole, they just did a better job covering me."