It's not hard to pinpoint the moment that was the catalyst for Oregon's 2-8 conference run that nearly derailed its season.
Oregon was playing Colorado in Boulder, a place that has been a house of horrors for the Ducks. Their perfect 13-0 record on the line, No. 10 Oregon was trying to hold off a furious Buffalo rally in the second half. Up six with 13 minutes to go, Calliste, Oregon's best free throw shooter at 90%, was fouled on a three pointer. The almost guaranteed result would be that the lead would be pushed back up to nine and order would be restored.
Instead, Calliste missed not one, not two, but all three free throws.
The Ducks never got back on track, lost the game by nine, and went on to lose seven of the next nine.
That was the turning point, the exact moment where the dam broke for Oregon. Maybe that dam was destined to break eventually, but it was Calliste's hat trick that officially did the job.
Flash forward to the regular season finale. Trying to piece together the crumbs of its season, the Ducks hosted No. 3 Arizona, a win likely to seal up an improbable run back into the tournament.
The Wildcats led the whole way, and seemed determined not to let Oregon back into it. Four times in the second half Oregon had the ball down two with a chance to tie. All four times, Arizona pushed the lead back up to at least six. It seemed that the Ducks weren't going to hit the big shot that day. Johnathan Loyd has his chance--and turned it over. Loyd had another chance, and threw up a brick. Damyean Dotson missed. Ditto Mike Moser.
Finally, Calliste got his turn. Barely having any space at the top of the key, Calliste hit a jumper and got the harm, putting Oregon up two. But he wasn't done. Next possession, he hit another one from just a bit deeper to put the Ducks up five. By the time Loyd hit a three pointer on the next Oregon possession, Arizona had gone from a probable winner to having its back snapped on the Matthew Knight Arena floor in the span of three trips down the court.
But Calliste's clutch play wasn't reserved for Arizona. Oregon's last five wins of the season--and the Ducks needed every single one of them to go dancing--saw Calliste go 17/25 from the three-point line, an incredible 68% clip during Oregon's most important stretch of the season.
So when you're watching Oregon take on Brigham Young on Thursday, tip your cap to Jason Calliste. In a season full of comebacks, nobody changed his legacy more.