12-11-2016  5:52 am      •     
McMenamins

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- Oregon's regular season came to an end on Saturday with one last win at McArthur Court and amid reports that its coach has been fired.
Lekendric Longmire had 17 points and 10 rebounds and the Ducks defeated Washington State 74-66 as a rumor swirled that Ernie Kent, in his 13th season as the Ducks' coach, was let go almost two weeks ago.
Eugene television station KVAL reported Kent's firing during the game. The station cited unidentified sources as saying Kent had been told he was being let go on Feb. 22 after home losses to Stanford and California.
Oregon athletic director Mike Bellotti would not confirm the story as he was leaving McArthur Court after the game and Kent deflected questions about the report without confirming or denying its validity.
``It was about (Oregon seniors) Tajuan Porter and Joevan Catron today,'' Kent said.
A near sellout crowd of 8,761 watched the Ducks (15-5, 7-11 Pac-10) beat the Cougars (16-14, 7-11) to prevent a last-place finish in the Pac-10 for the second straight season.
``You never want to finish last,'' Longmire said. ``After all we've been through this year we wanted to finish on a good note. And our season's not over.''
E.J. Singler also scored 15 for Oregon, Tajuan Porter scored 12 and Jeremy Jacobs had 11 points and eight rebounds.
Klay Thompson had a game-high 22 points for Washington State. DeAnglo Casto added 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The Cougars were plagued by poor shooting. They barely shot 28 percent in the first half and finished the game 8-for-29 from the 3-point line.
``We have good shooters and had good looks, but we just couldn't make a basket,'' Washington State coach Ken Bone said.
Oregon led 29-27 at halftime and Singler hit back-to-back 3-pointers to open the second half for the Ducks to extend their lead to 35-30.
Casto converted a layup for the Cougars to cut their deficit to 35-32 at the 17:44 mark. But the Ducks followed with a 13-1 run to go up 48-33 with 12:27 left.
It was the final Pac-10 Conference game at Mac Court. The Ducks will play the 2010-11 nonconference season at the 83-year-old arena before moving to the new $200 million Matthew Knight Arena by the start of Pac-10 play next January.
``It's a historic building and I'm glad to say I've shared historic special memories here,'' Longmire said.
Kent, a former Oregon player, is the winningest coach in school history with an overall record of 234-172.
He has taken the Ducks to five NCAA tournaments and in 2002 and 2007 reached the Round of 8. But Oregon went 8-23 last season and won just two conference games. This season has been marked by disappointing losses and dwindling attendance.
``We care about coach a lot,'' said Longmire, a junior forward. ``He's a great guy and we want to see him here.''
The Ducks and Cougars will meet again on Wednesday in the opening game of the Pac-10 tournament at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

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