Oregon has moved atop the rankings thanks to its continued dominance of the Pac-12.It's something that Stanford is well aware of.The top-ranked Ducks can stretch their program-best win streak to 14 games and clinch the conference's North Division crown when they host the No. 14 Cardinal on Saturday night.The nation's highest-scoring team cruised to a 59-17 victory at California last Saturday. Oregon (10-0, 7-0) moved up to No. 1 when Alabama was upset by Texas A&M."That's what's so good about this team," said wide receiver Josh Huff, who had three touchdown catches. "We don't pay attention to the rankings and what's around us. We just play Oregon football."The Ducks are 32-2 in conference games under Chip Kelly and have won nine of their last 10 against Stanford (8-2, 6-1).The Cardinal can win the North with a victory this weekend and one over UCLA next week."This is pretty much our Pac-12 championship game," linebacker Chase Thomas said.Stanford has lost its last five trips to Eugene, with four coming by at least three touchdowns. Since Andrew Luck guided the Cardinal to a 51-42 victory over the Ducks in 2009, they have lost the last two meetings by a combined 44 points.Luck and the Cardinal were 9-0 heading into last season's 53-30 home defeat.Coach David Shaw references Oregon all the time in practice to motivate his team."They have great athletes, they have a great scheme in all three phases, they know how to adjust those schemes based on what you're doing, which to me is the biggest key," Shaw said. "You don't see them stopped for long. If you're doing something well that can hold them down, they're going to make a tweak and make you pay for it."That was the case for the Ducks last week as they were held to a season-low 180 rushing yards, with Kenjon Barner limited to a per-carry average of 3.3 yards - 3.5 below his average.It didn't matter because Marcus Mariota threw for career highs of 377 yards and six touchdowns."We're about the end results," Kelly said. "I don't care if we run it, I don't care if we throw it. If you're gonna let us throw it for 377 yards and six touchdowns, we'll take that every week."The coach doesn't expect that type of production this week. Stanford is limiting opponents to a conference-best 320.7 yards per game, leading the nation by limiting foes to an average of 58.8 yards on the ground."I think it'll be a huge challenge offensively getting matched up against what will be the best defense we've faced so far," Kelly said.The high-octane tempo Oregon plays at has paid dividends each of the last two years against Stanford in second halves in which the Cardinal have been outscored 59-14."They do this thing where they play close for a half and then they just take off," Stanford senior defensive tackle Terrence Stephens said. "It's going to take our best game to win."On the other side of the ball, Stanford no longer has Luck as it prepares for its second game with Kevin Hogan as the starter.The redshirt freshman completed 22 of 29 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns in last Saturday's 27-23 home win over then-No. 13 Oregon State. Hogan made his first career start after Shaw decided earlier in the week to permanently bench an ineffective Josh Nunes."Kevin Hogan's probably a little bit better runner than Josh was so there's a little bit more quarterback on the perimeter stuff," Kelly said. "Their system is their system."The Cardinal will likely want to try to control the clock with a rushing attack led by senior Stepfan Taylor, who is fourth in the Pac-12 with 106.1 yards per game. Taylor has amassed 212 yards rushing over his last two games against Oregon."I don't think he gets enough publicity or enough notoriety for what he's done," Kelly said. "He's going to go down as one of the all-time great running backs in Stanford history."The Ducks, meanwhile, have totaled 620 rushing yards over the last two years against the Cardinal.
MORAGA -- Saint Mary's guard Joe Rahon shook his head in disbelief and shrugged his shoulders while running back on defense after getting blocked by Pepperdine's Chris Reyes midway through the second half.
It was one of the few things that didn't go Rahon's way in the Gaels' second straight blowout win.
Rahon scored 17 of his season-high 22 points in the first half and No. 23 Saint Mary's beat Pepperdine 85-65 on Saturday night.
"Our team's all about the open guy takes the shot and tonight I was able to get in the lane and make a few layups to get a rhythm going," Rahon said after shooting 9 of 13 with three 3-pointers. "That's kind of what makes us good offensively. We're unselfish and we don't really care who gets all the credit."
Rahon had plenty of support while helping Gaels coach Randy Bennett to his 350th career win.
Calvin Hermanson added 19 points and Jock Landale had 15 points and 10 rebounds as the Gaels (17-2, 7-1 West Coast Conference) led by double figures nearly the entire second half.
It was also a nice bounceback for Saint Mary's, which lost to Pepperdine twice during the regular season in 2016 before knocking the Waves out of the postseason conference tournament.
"Our guys definitely knew that," Bennett said. "We respected them because they'd gotten us three times in the last three years. Not many teams have. They have."
It wasn't as close this time around despite another big night from Pepperdine's Lamond Murray Jr., who scored 29 points on 12-of-20 shooting. It's the fifth consecutive game in which Murray has had at least 23.
The Waves (5-15, 1-7) couldn't keep pace with the Gaels' big three of Rahon, Hermanson and Landale. The trio accounted for 66 percent of Saint Mary's points and teamed for 18 rebounds and 11 assists.
After Pepperdine pulled within 72-63 on Murray's basket with 4:48 remaining, Rahon made one of two free throws, Emmet Naar had a 3-pointer and Rahon scored on a driving layup to help the Gaels to the win before a packed house at McKeon Pavilion.
"That's where playing together all last year helps," Rahon said. "You've been in the situation so many times that you look around and no one's rattled, no one's losing their confidence. We just have a lot of composed guys on our team."
Rahon, whose previous season high was 14 points, made seven of his first nine shots to eclipse that mark before halftime. Hermanson added 15 points, including an emphatic dunk on a baseline drive while Landale scored 11 points to give Saint Mary's a 47-33 lead.
Bennett has never coached Murray, only against him, but the Gaels coach sounded like a proud father after watching the Waves' leading scorer repeatedly torch his team's defense. "He's a really good player now," Bennett said. "He's as good a scorer as there is in our league. I think he's the best scorer in the league. It's just fun to see guys improve like that. He's made a big jump."
Pepperdine: The Waves have lost five straight and 14 of 15. ... Nolan Taylor's 3-pointer in the first half was the first of the season for the 6-foot-7, 250-pound freshman forward. ... Two days after becoming the school's career assists leader, Major was held without one for the first 14 1/2 minutes against Saint Mary's.
Saint Mary's: The Gaels responded to last week's loss to No. 4 Gonzaga with a pair of blowout wins at home, exactly the way Bennett expected. They have one more home game before playing four straight on the road. ... The 85 points are the Gaels' second-most this season.
Saint Mary's is likely to move up a few spots after three of the eight teams in front of the Gaels lost at least once this week.
Pepperdine: Returns home to host Portland on Thursday night.
Saint Mary's: Closes out its three-game homestand against San Francisco on Jan. 26. The Gaels won the first matchup between the two teams earlier this season 63-52 at Memorial Gym.
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- California sophomore Ivan Rabb rebounded from a disappointing game against Oregon with 18 points against Oregon State.
Rabb added eight rebounds and the Golden Bears handed the Beavers their seventh straight loss with a 69-58 victory Saturday night.
Rabb, who had been averaging 15.4 points in conference play, was held to an uncharacteristic four points in Cal's 86-63 loss to the No. 11 Ducks.
"Shots weren't dropping and I wasn't getting to the free-throw line," Rabb said. "But tonight I made an effort to get to the line, knock down shots, and just be more patient on the block. Overall, my teammates played better, I played better and we were way better as a team."
Charlie Moore added 15 for Cal, (14-6, 5-3 Pac-12), which led the Beavers by as many as 14 points after a close first half. Jabari Bird and Grant Mullins each added 12 for the Bears, who were coming off the loss to the Ducks but have won four of their last five games.
The Beavers have struggled without top scorer Tres Tinkle, who was averaging 20.2 points a game before he broke his right wrist on Nov. 25 against Fresno State. Tinkle has missed 14 games.
"I just think we have more bodies with more experience," Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said. "Not that they didn't play hard - they have a lot of talent, they have young talent. Of course they're missing key players - probably one of the best players in our league in Tres - but we knew they'd make plays. We knew Stevie as well as Drew were good enough to carry those guys. We just had to utilize our experience, our older guys and also our bodies, try to run in transition and ultimately get to Ivan Rabb to make plays."
Cal led most of the first half but the Beavers kept up. Thompson's layup and free throw pulled Oregon State within 15-14 before Moore answered with a layup for the Bears on the other end.
Mullins' 3-pointer and Kingsley Okoroh's dunk put the Bears up 20-16. Bird's 3 extended the lead to 34-25 but Oregon State closed the gap late in the half and trailed 34-29 at halftime. Eubanks led all scorers at the break with 12.
The Beavers got within 38-34 on JaQuori McLaughlin's layup and free throw. It was as close as Oregon State would come and Bird made a 3-pointer that pushed California's lead to 48-36 with 12:42 to go.
"It's tough to say we're making strides, but we did some positive things," Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said. "I'm proud of the guys for their effort but I've got to do some searching here because I'm having a hard time getting these guys to focus for 40 minutes. That's on me. I've got to do a better job, because we're still continuing to shoot ourselves in the foot, and we're a ways in the season."
The two teams split the regular season series last year, and Cal beat Oregon State 76-68 in the Pac-12 tournament last season. Cal had won eight of the last 12 meetings going into Saturday's game.
California: With his first 3-pointer early in the opening half, Bird upped his career total to 154, surpassing Randy Duck (1994-97) for 10th place on Cal's all-time list.
Oregon State: Oregon State players have missed 42 games due to injuries this season. In addition to Tinkle, center Cheikh N'diaye is out indefinitely with a left shoulder injury. Eubanks has a sore thigh that's bothering him. ... Oregon State was coming off a 62-46 loss at home to Stanford on Thursday.
Cal has eight days off before they host rival Stanford. While the break is nice, Rabb was already eager to play the Cardinal.
"Yeah, we're looking forward to it," Rabb said. "It's a rivalry game. It's going to be a high energy game. It's going to be a great atmosphere at Hass Pavilion."
California: The Golden Bears return home to face rival Stanford next Sunday. The Cardinal fell 69-52 to Oregon earlier on Saturday.
Oregon State: The Beavers visit Colorado on Thursday.