CORVALLIS, Oregon - Basketball is a game of runs. It’s about how you respond when your opponent has all the momentum: do you shut down or stop the bleeding.
In the case tonight for Oregon, it was poor timing paired with poor execution.
The Beavers outscored the Ducks 33-13 in the final 14:50 left in the game. It was the combination of Tres Tinkle and Ethan Thompson’s sharp-shooting on the perimeter paired with Kylor Kelley on the inside that Oregon had no response for defensively.
If it felt like there was a gaping hole in the paint when Oregon was on defense, it was probably due to two of Oregon’s bigs being out: the 6-foot-11 freshman center N’Faly Dante is still battling an injury that has kept him out since the Washington game on January 18; sophomore Francis Okoro was also absent as he is in Nigeria attending his father’s funeral, who passed away back in December.
Oregon head coach Dana Altman hopes to have Okoro back this week. As for Dante, he hopes he'll be "healthy one of these days" with no set timetable for return.
That left 6-foot-7, redshirt senior Shakur Juiston and 6-foot-8 freshman Chandler Lawson to guard the 7-foot Kylor Kelley. Down the stretch, Altman had to switch the rotation and go smaller with four guards. Kelley took advantage with simultaneous dunks and a layup during that Oregon scoring drought.
Offensively, that’s on me. We’re just not getting any flow that second half. We take the 10-point lead and then 13 points the rest of the game. Not getting very good shots, not executing anything out of timeouts - we had two turnovers out of two timeouts. — Dana Altman
It’s not just a battle inside amongst bigs. Kelley’s presence alone is enough to steer drives away from the hoop, but there still has to be that threat of driving the ball inside from the guards. Pritchard, who has been shooting 40% from 3-PT range this season, was held to just 1-for-8 from downtown. As a team, the Ducks were 7-of-23 from three-point range.
We got to get better inside finishing for guards, bigs, we just got to be more dominant in there. We got to get in the paint more, passing it, driving it. — Payton Pritchard
What does this loss mean for Oregon? Besides a drop in both the national rankings and Pac-12 conference standings, Oregon has a huge opportunity coming up. Of the remaining seven conference games on their schedule, the Ducks will play five at home: host No. 24 Colorado and Utah; then on the road at the Arizona schools; and then back home for a three-game homestand hosting Oregon State, CAL and Stanford.
We got five games at home out of the next seven… let’s make something happen. — Payton Pritchard
UP NEXT: The Ducks host No. 24 Colorado on Thursday night, tip-off set for 6 p.m. (PT) at Matthew Knight Arena.