Ducks Fall In Quarterfinals
LAS VEGAS — A cold shooting stretch late in the first half left Oregon at a deficit for the entire second half as the Ducks saw their Pac-12 Tournament appearance end with an 80-69 loss Thursday to Colorado at T-Mobile Arena.
The Ducks (19-14) led by as much as seven in the first half, the last time at 25-18 with 6:03 left in the half. But they finished the half in a 1-of-13 shooting funk, trailed 36-30 at the break and couldn't get over the hump despite closing within one possession several times in the second.
"We did a good job (Wednesday) of not giving up easy baskets," UO coach Dana Altman said. "Tonight ... we had some focus mistakes, some scouting report mistakes. You gotta give yourself a chance to be successful. And we made too many mistakes."
How It Happened: The two teams went back-and-forth in the early minutes until Quincy Guerrier made a three-pointer for a 13-9 lead. That ended up being Oregon's only three-pointer of the first half, but it provided some early cushion and N'Faly Dante followed with a dunk for a 15-9 advantage.
After Colorado answered Dante's dunk, Guerrier completed a three-point play to give Oregon an 18-11 edge. Moments later Jacob Young got to the rim to make it 24-18, and Guerrier hit a free throw to get the lead back to seven at 25-18. From there the Ducks went cold, though, and Colorado mounted a 12-0 run to take the lead for good. It was 33-27 when Oregon finally got another field goal to drop, as Rivaldo Soares completed a three-point play, but Colorado got the lead back to six at halftime, 36-30.
"We got beat on the boards, and that was a big thing," Guerrier said. "We got beat by 13. And we made some mistakes defensively. We were not communicating, and that was the biggest point of the game."
Playing from behind, the Ducks needed to string together sequences of stops and scores, and they did a few times in closing the gap. Guerrier hit a three-pointer to get Oregon within 40-39, Young got to the basket to make it 44-43, Young pulled up for a jumper to get the Ducks within 53-51 and Young hit a three-pointer to get it back to a two-point game at 56-54.
But the Ducks didn't get another stop-and-score sequence the remainder of the game, and Colorado was able to grow the lead methodically over the final few minutes. A key sequence of the game took place with Colorado led 60-56 with still more than seven minutes left, as Guerrier was called for a charge that wiped a basket off the board and the Buffaloes answered with a three-point play. Instead of trailing by two after Guerrier's bucket, Oregon was down seven and it got no closer than six the rest of the way.
"That's where it kind of popped open," Altman said. "We got some bad possessions there, and they got some second opportunities."
Who Stood Out: Guerrier finished with 25 points and 13 rebounds, giving the Ducks double-doubles in back-to-back games after Young's 23-point, 11-assist game Wednesday. Those were the fourth and fifth conference tournament double-doubles for Oregon, following two by Luke Jackson and one by Arsalan Kazemi.
Young added 18 points with seven assists Thursday, continuing to fill the void in the absence of team leader Will Richardson, who missed the tournament with a non-COVID illness. Eric Williams Jr. added 10 points, Dante fought through foul trouble to grab 11 rebounds and Franck Kepnang blocked four shots.
What It Means: The loss means Oregon almost certainly won't reach the NCAA Tournament, a rare instance of failing to do so under Altman.
"We've tried to set a standard at Oregon that we try to meet," he said. "And I just felt like for the first time in a long time, we didn't meet that standard."
Up Next: The Ducks will await word of their postseason fate following the announcement of the NCAA Tournament field Sunday.