Once again, the Oregon Ducks (12-4, 7-3) defeated the Arizona Wildcats (14-7, 8-7) in a close conference battle, ultimately winning on the road 63 to 61.
TUCSON, ARIZONA - Oregon’s previous two contests versus Arizona ended in one-point overtime Duck wins, and this game was similarly a hard-fought contest in which Oregon emerged victorious.
Eugene Omoruyi led the team with 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting and surpassed the 1,000-point career mark. LJ Figueroa made a big impact on the game with 13 points and six rebounds. Both Chris Duarte (10 points) and Will Richardson (4 points) started against the Wildcats, though, outside of the game-winning shot by the former, neither player was able to fully take off offensively due to a tenacious Arizona defense.
The Ducks started off strong by answering James Akinjo’s opening score with an 11-0 run. but the Wildcats were then able to regain their composure and cut the lead to 15-12 with 12:53 left in the opening half.
A triple from LJ Figueroa was followed by buckets from Amauri Hardy and Omoruyi to put the Ducks up by 10 points—their largest lead of the day—but Sean Miller’s team rallied and was able to tie the score at 34 apiece at the half thanks to some successful three-pointers made by freshmen Ąžuolas Tubelis of Lithuania and Kerr Kriisa of Estonia.
Though Kriisa’s final triple before the halftime buzzer was mighty impressive, the shot of the night belonged to Duarte who nailed the game-winning triple down by one with 17 seconds left on the clock.
The second half was a back-and-forth affair, but the now-healthy (knock on wood) Ducks used veteran play from Figueroa and Duarte in the final minutes as well as a suffocating defense to finish the contest strong. The Wildcats took the lead late, but Oregon showed the kind of resilience that will be needed in the near future if they wish to earn their ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
The Ducks shot 45.5 percent from the floor and hit seven of their 20 shots from downtown. Oregon outrebounded Arizona 38 to 30, which included 26 defensive rebounds for the Ducks that greatly impacted the game’s outcome. The Ducks held the Wildcats to just 38.6 percent shooting.
Oregon will (hopefully) finish their final regular season games against the mountain schools starting this Thursday against Colorado at Matt Knight.
NEXT UP: Colorado
Thursday, 8 PM, ESPN2 - Eugene, Oregon