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Ducks lose at Colorado 91-87

The back and forth battle went in favor of the Buffaloes 91-87. Oregon has yet to win a game at the Coors Event Center.

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Ducks went into Sunday night in Boulder looking for their fourth win of the young Pac-12 season. Almost as important, they looked for their first win in the Coors Event Center ever, their only Pac-12 arena without a win.

Oregon started off the part of the game with aggressive defensive and crisp ball movement.  Chris Boucher was key in the early going with a few nice finishes at the rim. Unfortunately, after giving up a few three pointers the Ducks were down 11-12 at the under-16 timeout.

Surprising to the game preview, the Ducks kept pounding the ball into the paint with Boucher and Tyler Bell to get the advantage. After a technical foul on Dillon Brooks and hot shooting from Colorado, the Buffaloes took a 24-17 lead with just under 12 minutes to go in the first half.

Things got ugly coming out of the timeout with turnovers and missed shots being present on both sides of the court. As ugly as it was, the Buffaloes found a way to extend their lead until Elgin Cook nailed five straight points to bring the score to 22-27. However, with the under eight minute time out in place the Buffaloes extended the lead to 32-27.

With Dillon Brooks back in the game the Ducks began to make their run to bring the game back to a two point game, although it could have been tied without a tough call at the rim with Brooks. After that, Colorado got back to their roots by pounding it in the paint to take a 43-34 lead with under three minutes to play in the first half.

Thanks to a run fueled by defensive turnovers leading to easy buckets the Ducks entered half time down 46-41. Tyler Dorsey was the Oregon leader at half time with ten points with Dillon Brooks coming in with nine points and Elgin Cooks with eight. At the half, shooting percentages and turnover percentages remained right around even between the teams.

Oregon entered the second half looking for yet another come back (who ever would have thought that with me covering the game?). Dillon Brooks started off the second half with a run of his own, capped off by a beautiful and-one finish to bring the score to 49-50 Colorado.  The immediate possessions after, Chris Boucher took the lead with a three pointer. After back-to-back three pointers by both squads the Ducks held a 55-53 lead at the first timeout of the second half.

The Dana Altman coaching special showed up at this point in the half. Every time a Colorado player caught the ball in the paint they were immediately doubled by a Duck forcing them into a tough decision and often a turnover leading to a quick Oregon score. However, with the doubles coming in the paint the Buffaloes started knocking down threes closing the gap to 61-60 Ducks with 12:12 to play.

After Brooks and Boucher picked up their fourth fouls with over ten minutes to play it was up to the rest of the squad to pick up the slack. Tyler Bell certainly did his part with his active play to get steals and easy buckets for the Ducks during the stretch. However, with key players on the bench the Ducks were unable to keep their lead and went into the under-eight minute timeout down.

Dwayne Benjamin took Oregon on a big run to take the lead up to 74-73. After a quick run back and forth, Benjamin hit a three to tie the game up at 78 heading into the under four minute time out.

Out of the timeout Colorado hit a quick two to take a 78-80 lead. After a missed one and one by Bell, Colorado had the ball back. After a fumbled possession by the Buffaloes that somehow led to quick score for a four-point lead the Ducks took a time out.

With just over a minute to play Chris Boucher fouled out on an and-one against Josh Scott. At that point, Colorado took a timeout holding on to a six-point lead. Tyler Dorsey nailed a three with 42 seconds to play to bring the Ducks back down three points.

After Casey Benson barely missed a steal, the Buffaloes were back at the line where they went 1-2.  Following that, Colorado stole the inbounds pass to get back to the line where they yet again went 1-2. Even after a Dorsey three pointer the Ducks were unable to reclaim the game, falling 91-87 and further damaging my coverage record. With the loss, Oregon falls to 14-4 overall and 3-2 in Pac-12 play.

Takeaway of the night:

Rebounding. Although the Ducks held their own in the first half, the final tally in rebounds went 39-25 Buffaloes. Sure, a lot had to do with the foul trouble with the big men but still the Ducks were in trouble with the boards. Certainly not the first time this has happened this year, but this one was a tough one due to fouls. Here’s to hoping that Boucher and Bell can stay out of foul trouble from here on out and give the Ducks a rebounding chance.

Oregon performers of the game:

Dillon Brooks. 21 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists.

Tyler Dorsey. 19 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists.

Up next:

Thursday, Jan. 21 vs USC.