USA TODAY Sports
Oregon blows several opportunities to win, gives the game to UTEP, 91-84, in triple overtime.
Mere words cannot express how utterly pathetic that basketball game was.
Oregon was clearly the more talented basketball team. The Ducks should have won the game at the end of regulation. They should have won the game at the end of the first overtime. They should have won the game at the end of the second overtime. They had a myriad of chances, many not terribly difficult chances, and failed to capitalize on all of them. With the Ducks up one nearing the end of regulation, Arsalan Kazemi went to the free throw line with a chance to extend the lead to three. He missed both shots. In overtime, Tony Woods got four free throw attempts with less than 24 seconds to go and the Ducks down one. He made exactly one of those four. In double overtime, the Ducks got the ball with exactly 35 seconds to go in a tie game with one timeout. They didn't call the TO, and Dominic Artis ended up jacking a three from five feet behind the line with 2.2 seconds left. In the third overtime, UTEP finally took the game, after trying as hard as they could through two overtimes to give it to Oregon.
The stat line is a giant pile of DERP. 14-27 from the free throw line for a team that had been the best in the conference. There's your game right there. 31/81 from the field (38.3%). The all-too-familiar 17 turnovers. It wasn't a lack of effort, as the Ducks outrebounded UTEP by 11 and forced four more turnovers than they committed, but inability to make free throws cost the Ducks this game.
As Tim Floyd is wont to do, the Miners mucked up the game. They rotated between a triangle-and-two and a box-and-one most of the game, denying E.J. Singler any opportunity to get the ball. They also did a great job defending the post through the first half, as Oregon bricked three after three after three, allowing UTEP to build a seven-point halftime lead. The Ducks came back and should have won, largely due to two clutch three pointers by Damyean Dotson to give Oregon the late lead, but Kazemi missed the two free throws down the stretch.
UTEP is not a good basketball team. They lost to Vanderbilt by 24, and this will serve as a giant blemish smack dab in the middle of Oregon's resume. In a conference that has been full of bad OOC losses this season, Oregon finally had their turn. And it has eliminated the advantage that Oregon has had over the rest of the conference. This is one that the Ducks will regret in March.