This game was 2013-14 Oregon basketball in a nutshell: kind of a sloppy mess, filled with untimely turnovers and stupid mistakes that kept their opponent in the game, with consistently aggravating play on the boards and in the half-court offense.
But a win is a win, and wins are what Oregon needs to state its case for inclusion in the NCAA tournament.
Despite holding CJ Wilcox, Washington's leading scorer, to only 2 points on 1-4 shooting in the first half, the Ducks found themselves trailing 39-36, thanks to Desmond Simmons and Perris Blackwell dominating Oregon's frontcourt on both ends of the floor. Simmons and Blackwell would finish the game with a combined 29 points on 12-20 shooting, and redundantly-named Andrew Andrews chipping in 15 points and 7 rebounds. As a surprise to no one, Waverly Austin looked lost and useless on both ends of the floor, allowing easy buckets down low and doing next to nothing on the boards. Plus, he sets a terrible screen. But, you know, consistently tall.
However, whatever Dana Altman said at halftime paid immediate dividends, as Oregon began the second half on a 10-0 run, giving them a lead they would not give up in the second half. Damyean Dotson caught fire in the second half, making all five of his field goal attempts. Dotson not only played really well, he was fired up all night. He's had a pedestrian season, maybe this is the game that gets him back into "Dot is Hot" mode. Oregon was aggressive throughout, getting the ball to the rim and earning a number of and-1 opportunities, though were unable to convert the free throw four times. CJ Wilcox finished the game with nine points on 2-8 shooting. Jason Calliste in particular did a tremendous job limiting Wilcox's touches. Wilcox didn't help himself by being aggressive on the offensive end though.
Scary series in the second half; first Joseph Young dove out of bounds and landed hard on a cameraman's equipment. If you end up with a camera lens jabbing into your hamstring, you'll need a second to collect yourself, and Young left the game. On the next possession, Damyean Dotson came up holding his left wrist after battling for a rebound. He did not return to the game.
I can't remember Oregon putting a decent team away in the second half this year. Games, even wins, are always somewhat in doubt at the end. That could have something to do with Oregon's abysmal half-court offense when leading late. I especially liked Joseph Young's "dribble until the shot clock runs out" play with 40 seconds left tonight.
Congrats to Dana Altman for career win #500, a tremendous accomplishment. Oregon's next game will be against Washington State on Sunday night at 6 PM (ugh, sick of these Sunday night games).