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Oregon Loses Their First Game of the Season to Gonzaga in OT, 73-72

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Ducks will have another opportunity as they go up against #6 North Carolina tomorrow

NCAA Basketball: Battle 4 Atlantis-Gonzaga at Oregon Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

One major question needs to be answered for Oregon — who do you want to take the last shot when down? Do you still want Payton Pritchard (17 points on 7-23 FG, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals) with the ball in his hands in those situations (air-balled a potential game winning three-pointer against Seton Hall yesterday and missed a late pull-up jump shot today in OT against the Zags)? Should it be Anthony Mathis or maybe even Chris Duarte? A lot to think about for Dana Altman after a tough one against a really talented Gonzaga team. Can Gonzaga get a home-and-home series with Oregon now? College basketball needs it after that game. Both of these programs will definitely be second weekend teams in March.

Honestly, this game could’ve ended a lot differently if Shakur Juiston didn’t miss those two free throws late in OT with 43 seconds on the clock or even if Drew Timme didn’t hit 1 of the 2 free throws with 20 seconds left in the game. Free throws seem to be an early issue in the season for the Ducks. CJ Walker also came up 0-2 from the line late in this game. Those two points would’ve been a huge difference maker. I will say, Walker has really stepped up in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament. He finished with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks off the bench today.

The Ducks just had a tough time putting the ball in the hole against the Zags. Oregon was 27-80 (33.8%) from the field and 8-28 (28.6%) from beyond the arc. Anthony Mathis was nowhere to be seen (2 points on 1-6 shooting from the field and 0-4 from beyond the arc). He only played 19 minutes and didn’t seem to be looking to shoot when he was in. He needs to step up if they want any chance of beating Cole Anthony and the Tar Heels.

Oregon will now have to turn around and get some rest in preparation for the third-place game. #6 North Carolina and #11 Oregon will tip-off at 11:30 AM ET on ESPN (a 2017 Final Four rematch). Another huge opportunity to add to the tournament resume awaits the Ducks.

*Arden Cravalho is a Gonzaga University graduate from the Bay Area... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho