Oregon hands No. 4 Arizona first loss
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — After racking up victories against mostly inferior opponents, Oregon finally got a signature win.
Led by the all-around efforts of senior E.J. Singler and some early resiliency, the Ducks handed No. 4 Arizona its first loss of the season with a 70-66 victory Thursday night.
Singler had 14 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals for Oregon (13-2, 2-0 Pac-12), which overcame an 11-0 deficit to lead for the final 27:32. The Ducks ran their home winning streak to 17 games, including all 11 this season.
“I think we’ve been playing really well the whole season,” Singler said. “I think we’re a really good team. This game really showed our team we can compete with a lot of different people.”
Dominic Artis, Carlos Emory and Tony Woods had 10 points apiece for Oregon.
Mark Lyons scored 21 and Solomon Hill added 16 points to lead the Wildcats (14-1, 2-1), who entered as one of three undefeated teams in the country.
“We obviously want to win every game, but we know it’s not a perfect world,” Nick Johnson said. “It definitely hurts because we know we let one slip away with our defense and our execution and stuff like that.”
The Wildcats didn’t go quietly. Trailing 67-55 with under 3 minutes to play, Arizona mounted one last rally.
Lyons made a 3-pointer, Johnson followed with a layup and Lyons drained another 3 while falling back-ward to cut it to 67-63 with 1:18 to go.
Free throws by Singler and another 3-pointer by Johnson made it 69-66 with 50 seconds left.
Artis missed a shot late in the Ducks’ ensuing possession and Johnson was making his way up the court when Johnathan Loyd caught him from behind and stole the ball with 10 seconds left.
Loyd was fouled and made one of two free throws to seal it.
“We didn’t play as smart as we wanted to,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “They’re a team that’s won 14; you could see their confidence even when they were down late.”
It was the Ducks’ second win against a ranked team this season. They beat No. 24 UNLV in November. Their only losses are to No. 21 Cincinnati and in triple overtime at UTEP.
While Altman said the win could be the biggest in his three seasons at Oregon, he also said there should be better wins ahead.
“If January 10 is our high, then this team has really underachieved,” Altman said. “This team has a lot more. I’ll be disappointed if we don’t have bigger wins this season.”
It appeared to be going the Wildcats’ way when they jumped out to an 11-0 lead. But it was all Oregon from there, as the Ducks outscored Arizona 41-19 the rest of the first half.
After Damyean Dotson put the Ducks up 44-30 with a 3-pointer to open the second, the Wildcats went to work with Hill, Kevin Parrom and Lyons attacking the basket during a 12-4 run that cut Oregon’s lead to 48-42 with 17:11 to play.
“Our effort picked up in the second half, but it wasn’t enough,” Lyons said.
The Ducks extended their lead back into double digits when Singler made a 3 with 6:46 left to put them up 63-52.
That was the Ducks’ last field goal of the game. They held off Arizona’s final rally by going 7 for 9 from the free throw line.