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California-Oregon Preview

AP - Sports

Considering its prolonged struggles against California, Oregon doesn't expect to have an easy time bouncing back from its first defeat.

As the No. 17 Ducks look to get back on track, they'll try to avoid a 12th consecutive loss to the visiting Golden Bears in a Pac-12 matchup Thursday night.

In position to match the best start in school history, Oregon (13-1, 1-1) blew a 10-point, second-half lead en route to a 100-91 loss at then-No. 20 Colorado on Sunday.

"Any loss is no fun," coach Dana Altman said. "I don't like to lose anything."

Among the national leaders averaging 89.4 points, the Ducks shot 42.3 percent in Boulder after hitting a season-low 38.7 in a 70-68 overtime win at Utah last Thursday. The Ducks had entered the New Year third nationally at 51.3 percent. They held the Utes to 38.1 but let the Buffaloes shoot 56.4 percent.

"We're still a work in progress," Altman told the Ducks' official website.

He expects the work to be even tougher as Oregon tries to extend an 11-game home winning streak that dates to a 48-46 loss to Cal on Feb. 21. Justin Cobbs' jumper with 0.7 seconds left propelled the Bears to their 11th consecutive victory in the series and fifth straight in Eugene. Oregon was ranked 23rd for that game and 10th for a 58-54 loss at Cal earlier that month.

The Golden Bears (10-4, 1-0) haven't been ranked for any game during their win streak over the Ducks, dating to a 92-70 home defeat Feb. 9, 2008. The last three meetings have been decided by a combined nine points.

"They've been really close games, down to the wire, and we've come up on the wrong end," Altman said. "We've got to try to turn that around."

Playing for the first time since beating Stanford 69-62 last Thursday, the Bears have allowed an average of 61.5 points on 40.1 percent shooting while winning three of four.

"If we can keep playing that same way and get through conference," Cobbs said, "I think we're an NCAA (tournament) team."

Altman is concerned about Cal coach Mike Montgomery and his players having had so much time to get ready for this matchup.

"They'll have a full week, so we'll see a team that's very well-prepared," Altman said. "You give Mike a full week, he's going to have them ready to go. So we're going to have to be really sharp."

At 14.4 points per game, Cobbs is one of five Bears averaging double figures and also averages a team-leading 5.9 assists. The senior, who has scored 18 in each of the last two games, has averaged 16.3 points on 57.1 percent shooting and 7.0 assists in four games against the Ducks.

"He's definitely the leader of that group," Altman said. "He's the guy that makes them go."

Cobbs didn't have to go against Dominic Artis after an injury to the Oregon point guard kept him from facing Cal last season. Artis has come off the bench in all five contests since returning from a season-opening nine-game suspension, and he's recorded 20 points, eight assists and seven steals in the first two conference matchups.

Oregon forward Mike Moser had 24 points Sunday after combining for nine in the previous two games. Teammate Joseph Young averaged 20.2 points and shot 54.8 percent during non-conference play, but totaled 25 on 7-of-18 shooting against Utah and Colorado.

Cal lost its only matchup with a Top 25 team - 92-81 to then-No. 8 Syracuse - but has won its last three against ranked Pac-12 opponents.

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