The Oregon Ducks did tonight what they did not want to do - play a lackluster game for 38 minutes and expect to win.
However, they nearly got away with it.
The Ducks started slow and did not find threes in the first period, relying on defense to keep the score close. Colorado helped the Ducks by missing shots of their own, but on the way to a tepid 10-11 score, Oregon shot 0-7 on threes and 4-16 overall on field goals.
Then, in the 2nd quarter, Colorado’s defense kicked it up a gear and gave the Ducks problems, much of the time being the faster team on the floor. The Buffaloes hit consecutive threes to pull ahead 10-16 before Sedona Prince responded with a midrange jumper. At the 7:29 mark, coach Graves called a timeout to try and align the troops. That didn’t help very much, because even with open looks Oregon’s long ball was not hitting, going 0-10 on threes. When they weren’t getting open looks, the Buffaloes were fast and disruptive. A Duck turnover led to a nine point lead for Colorado, and it wasn’t until 1:19 left in the half that Oregon finally got a shot from beyond the arc. Colorado was firmly in control at that point, and got a bucket while running down the clock to go up seven at halftime, 24-31.
In the first half, Oregon shot 34.5% and 40% on threes to Colorado’s 43.3% and 66.7% on threes. The Buffaloes prevailed in the paint and picked up 10 points off the bench to Oregon’s four points.
Oregon regrouped for awhile in the 3rd quarter, and a three-pointer from Ahlise Hurst put the Ducks ahead, 36-35. The lead was short-lived. Sloppy ball handling and missed shots allowed Colorado to go on a 12-2 run to wrap up a dominant third period by the Buffaloes.
Colorado opened up the 4th with a three, and a 15-2 run, before Oregon responded with a shot of their own from beyond the arc. The Ducks were doing little to stop Colorado from shooting lights-out, and the 10 Oregon turnovers at the 7:00 mark helped put the Ducks in a 43-55 hole. Ahlise Hurst nailed a step-back three and another three shortly after to close the gap 51-58 at 5:32. Again, the Ducks gave up shots in the paint along with turnovers, and found themselves down 12 at 2:43 to go. Oregon then did the improbable and tore into a 9-1 run in 40 seconds, and free throws by Endyia Rogers sent the game into overtime, 72-72.
In overtime, Colorado pegged an open-look three which Oregon answered. TeHina Paopao then nailed a three to put Oregon up 78-75. After a couple of Quay Miller free throws, Nyara Sabally missed her two free throws at the 1:57 mark. In truth, Sabally was gaming as best she could, having been limping since the close of the 4th quarter. A Buffalo free throw and layup put Colorado up by two before Rogers tied the game at 80-all to go into a second OT.
Oregon’s magic ran out in the second OT. The Ducks only managed to score three points in five minutes, and Colorado closed the period out with the final score of 83-86.
Mya Hollingshed led the Buffaloes with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Jaylyn Sherrod and Lesila Finau added 15 points each. Colorado ended with 45% shooting; more importantly, they led for all but four minutes of this 40 minute contest.
Oregon was led by Endyia Rogers with 28 points. Nyara Sabally ended with a double-double, with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Ahlise Hurst rounded out the top scorers with 15 points, largely on her three-point ball. Oregon only mustered 40% shooting, and their shots at the line hurt them tonight, going 63% on 12-19 shooting.
It would appear that Oregon has played themselves out of a #2 seeding in the Pac-12 tournament. The Ducks still are not looking like they are capable of significant tournament runs in March, and desperately need to fix whatever it is that ails them.
The Ducks have three days to regroup before they tipoff against Utah. That game will be this Saturday, 2/26, at 12:00 pm, and will be televised by Pac-12 Oregon.