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Porter steps up to lead Oregon over Stanford

Jan 14, 2008 - 2:59 AM EUGENE, Oregon (Ticker) -- With its young point guard fouled out, Tajuan Porter made all the right plays for Oregon.

Porter scored four of his 15 points inside the final two minutes as the Ducks extended their winning streak to three games with a 71-66 victory over No. 23 Stanford in the Pac-10 Conference on Sunday.

Maarty Leunen had 16 points and Malik Hairston added 15 and seven rebounds for Oregon (12-4, 3-1), which improved to 8-0 at McArthur Court this season.

"You have to win at home," Oregon Ernie Kent said. "Each game gets a little bigger now, but you've got to protect your home court."

In a tightly contested matchup, freshman Kamyron Brown fouled out with 2:27 remaining when he hacked Robin Lopez after the 7-footer pulled down an offensive rebound.

While Lopez made only 1-of-2 free throws to tie the score at 63-63, the Ducks were facing a tough finish without their top ballhander and playmaker. However, Porter proved up the task of carrying Oregon.

The speedy 5-6 guard first broke down the Cardinal's Mitch Johnson with a dribbling display that included both a crossover and behind-the-back move, scoring a layup with 1:55 to play.

"We wanted to attack the basket and keep the Lopez twins out on the perimeter, because Stanford is not good defending off the dribble," Porter said.

The sophomore Porter then grabbed a steal from Brook Lopez but could not get a running bank shot to go. After Brook Lopez missed a jumper with 33 seconds left, the diminutive Porter was able to collect the rebound and was fouled.

Porter converted both free throws for a 67-63 advantage with 27 ticks to go, and Stanford immediately turned over the ball on the other end.

Overall, the Cardinal had eight turnovers and converted just 13-of-25 free throws (52 percent).

"This is two games now that we've lost in a tough conference where it was more about what we didn't do than what our opponent did do," Stanford coach Trent Johnson said. "Give credit to the Ducks. They were better than us today."

The fourth-leading scorer at 13.3 points, Porter had been in a slump coming into the contest, mustering just 5.2 points on 10-of-43 shooting (23 percent) over his previous five games.

"He will work himself through the slump he's going through," Kent said. "It will be a great learning experience for him. I knew Tajaun was going to come out of it, and what a time to do it."

Bryce Taylor and Hairston both had a pair of free throws in the closing 22 seconds for Oregon, which finished 73 percent (19-of-26) from the stripe.

Brook Lopez tied a career high with 26 points and grabbed six rebounds for the Cardinal (13-3, 2-2), who had a three-game winning streak on the road snapped.

"He played extremely well pretty much the whole game," Leunen said. "We knew he'd get his points. There's no stopping him. I did my best, and he still got 26 points, but I'll take it as long as we got the victory."

Looking to avoid their 11th loss in the last 13 meetings with the Cardinal, the Ducks had a strong first half, recording the most points against Stanford this season with 41.

"We were really good in the first half," Kent said. "We made adjustments on defense at halftime, and I thought that was the difference in the ballgame."

After Stanford took an 18-16 edge on a jumper by Robin Lopez with 11:12 remaining in the opening half, Oregon went on a 16-4 run. Porter had seven points during the burst, which gave the Ducks a 32-22 advantage with 6:41 left.

"I got my rhythm back," Porter said. "I've been in kind of a slump lately, and I'm just happy to be back in the lineup and playing well."

Oregon shot 11-of-20 (55 percent) from the field up to that put, including 3-of-3 on 3-pointers.

However, the Ducks had to settle for a 41-40 edge at intermission as they could not handle 7-footer Brook Lopez, who tallied 20 of his points in the first half.

Lopez was a major factor in Stanford's 18-9 run that ended the opening 20 minutes, collecting 14 points.

Neither team took more than a three-point lead in the second half until the closing moments.