Ducks Outlast Bison in OT Thriller
EUGENE, Ore. -- The University of Oregon men's basketball team gave the fans a game to remember in its final season opener at McArthur Court on Friday night. The Ducks (1-0) outlasted North Dakota State (0-1), 97-92, in overtime at the BTI Invitational. Joevan Catron scored a career-high 27 points in his first regular-season outing since Nov. 21, 2009 and E.J. Singler recorded his first career double-double to pace the Ducks to the overtime victory.
Catron also managed career-bests with nine field goals and nine free throws made. Singler tallied a career-best 16 points on a career-high four three-pointers (all in the second half) while grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds for the double-double. Jay-R Strowbridge provided a spark off the bench in his Oregon debut with a career-high 18 points and Teondre Williams also reached double figures with 15 points. Johnathan Loyd led all players with eight assists while not committing a single turnover.
The score was tied nine times and the lead changed hands on 22 occasions. Oregon shot 44.3 percent from the field and held North Dakota State to 40 percent shooting. Both teams grabbed 48 rebounds and the squads were nearly even in turnovers, with UO committing only 16 turnovers and NDSU with 17 miscues of its own.
Both teams went back and forth in a fast paced first half that featured a combined 78 field goal attempts. Neither squad led by more than five points and the opening frame featured three ties and 10 lead changes. The Bison outscored the Ducks, 13-6, over the final 6:30 of the half to take a 39-37 lead into the break.
Strowbridge made his UO debut off the bench in the first half and responded with a game-high 10 points in 13 minutes in the opening frame.
After struggling from three-point territory (1-for-8) in the first half, Garrett Sim and Singler nailed consecutive trifectas to stake Oregon to a 43-39 lead to open the final regulation period.
The Bison countered the opening spurt with some three-point sharpshooting of their own. NDSU regained the lead, 54-52, on a Marshall Bjorklund triple with 12:16 remaining, the game's 14th lead change.
The lead once again changed hands as Catron scored five-straight points to put the Ducks back on top. The UO lead was stretched to seven as Singler drilled yet another three-pointer.
Following Singler's three, NDSU rallied yet again with a 15-8 surge that evened the score, 76-76, with 3:38 remaining.
After a Catron free throw put the Ducks back on top, Michael Tveidt converted a four-point play after being fouled on a three-point make.
With the Bison leading, 82-79, Singler once again came through from downtown with 1:53 to go to even the score at 82 apiece.
The Ducks went inside to Catron, who converted another shot from in close to give UO an 84-82 lead with just over a minute remaining, but NDSU tied it up once more with a pair of free throws to send the game to overtime.
North Dakota State set the tone by scoring the first five points of the extra session, but Strowbridge and Williams hit back-to-back threes to give the Ducks a 90-89 advantage. The lead was short lived as Tveidt hit another three-pointer to give Bison another lead at 92-90.
The Ducks cut the lead to one and got a stop with 30 seconds remaining. After a timeout, head coach Dana Altman called Catron's number one more time, bringing him around a screen and opening him up for a clutch jumper from the elbow to give the Ducks a one-point advantage.
The defense forced a turnover and Loyd scored his first career points with a pair of clutch free throws to put UO up by three. Lloyd hustled back defensively to pull down a crucial defensive rebound and calmly iced the game away with two more free throws.