Oregon just has the worst luck when they play Colorado.
Jason Calliste, a 93% free throw shooter on the season who had made 31 consecutive from the line coming into this game, was fouled on a three-pointer, sending him to the line with 13:20 to go and the Ducks up six. One-by-one, Calliste put up his free throws. One-by-one, they came up bricks. A 93% free throw shooter going reverse hat trick is about par for the course for Oregon in Boulder. The play is the obvious turning point, Colorado outscoring Oregon 48-33 over the final 13 minutes to net the home win 100-91. The loss marks Oregon first of the season, and drops them to 1-1 in Pac-12 play.
Neither team was able to gain a big advantage in the first half. However, it was Oregon that stormed into the second half a seized momentum, putting together a ten point lead on a trapping 3-2 zone that caused Colorado all kinds of fits. Spencer Dinwiddie put together a couple of nice plays to cut the deficit to six. With Calliste fouled at this point, one would only assume that Calliste would put the Ducks back up nine and restore order. Instead, he missed them all. The missed seemed to infect the entire Oregon team, who started missing all manner of shots. Free throws? Brick. Layups at the rim? Nope. Colorado wasn't doing anything different defensively than they had all game--Oregon was just missing, missing, and missing some more.
The collapse on the other end was just as staggering. Dinwiddie hit three three-pointers, stretching out the Oregon defense. This in turn opened up the paint, allowing the Buffs their choice of post-ups and iso drives. The officiating was the most brutal Oregon has seen this season--Colorado attempted 18 more free throws than Oregon on several brutal phantom calls--but those calls were made possible by the Ducks' inability to keep Colorado out of the paint in the final 13:00 of the game.
The shooting outliers also tell a major story of the game. Oregon won the turnover battle by seven, had seven more assists, and had 23 more field goal attempts than CU. The problem was that, while shooting 23 more shots than the Buffaloes, they made only two more. Oregon's inability to hit anything down the stretch put them well below season averages in all manners of shooting: 42% from the line, 36% from three, 76% from the line. Meanwhile, Colorado far exceeded all their season averages: 56% from the field, 42% from three, and 82% from the line.
A win in this game was never likely, but the fact that Oregon held a ten-point second half lead makes this another in a long line of frustrating losses to the Buffaloes. It won't hurt Oregon's resume, and they got that all-important road split by winning Thursday at Utah, but one can't help but believe that with a little more normalcy, in terms of shooting ability by both teams, officiating, and late game defensive execution.
But this is Colorado. Oregon fans by now should expect weird stuff to happen, and weird stuff that isn't going to be favorable for the green and yellow.