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Oregon Basketball

Oregon Falls to Buffaloes 79-72

January 7, 2021

Oregon was without their backup point Guard Jalen Terry for the third straight game. With Center N’faly Dante and Guard Will Richardson both out as well, Oregon only had 8 available players going up against Colorado. And with the air being thinner in Colorado, having few players available to sub in was even more tiring than normal.

Oregon and Colorado traded buckets to start the game off, with Eugene Omoruyi scoring 4 quick points. After a tied game 6-6, Colorado went on a run to make it 12-6 Buffaloes 5 minutes into the game. But once again, Oregon didn’t let that go on for long and quickly brought it back to a tie game. 12-12 with 11:35 left in the first half. Omoruyi seemed to be showing signs of having another strong game, bullying the Buffaloes’ big men in the paint to get an early 6 points.

Coming out of the under-12 media timeout, Chandler Lawson hit a quick 3 to give the Ducks their first lead of the day. Scoring slowed down quite a bit after that, with each team only scoring 2 points each for the next 3:30. After two free throws from Colorado to change that, the score was 17-16 Oregon with 8 minutes left before halftime.

Three-point shooting struggles were evident for both teams in the first half. With 5:30 left in the first half, Oregon had hit 1 three on 5 attempts, and Colorado had hit 1 on 10 attempts. Neither team could capitalize on the others’ bad shooting, leading to a close contest all through the first half. With 3:30 left before half, Oregon only had a one-point lead on Colorado, 24-23. After a nice spin around his defender in the paint, Omoruyi laid it in to be the first player on either squad to score in the double digits with 10. However, that didn’t last long, as a three-pointer from Chris Duarte with 1:30 left in the first half gave him 10 points as well. With only two other players scoring though, it was no surprise Colorado capitalized and went into halftime with the lead.

Halftime Score: 33-31 Colorado.

Oregon Halftime Scoring Leader: Eugene Omoruyi - 12 points, 6-9 from the field, 0-1 from three, 0-0 from the line.

Eric Williams Jr. really struggled in the first half, scoring 0 points on 6 attempts, 4 of those attempts coming from behind the arc.

Oregon struggled with turnovers in the first half, giving it up 8 times, with Omoruyi, Figueroa, and Williams all having two. Because of this, fastbreak points were night and day for the two teams. At half, Oregon had only two of their points come on a fastbreak, while Colorado had 14.

The second half did not start off well for the Ducks, as Colorado went on a 14-2 scoring run to open the second half. With 16:30 left in the game, Colorado had built a 14 point lead to make it 47-33. An Eric Williams three-pointer stopped some of the bleeding, but the damage seemed to have been done. Colorado still held an 11 point lead and a lot of momentum. Oregon did begin to slowly cut away at that lead, though. Oregon went on a run of their own, scoring 9 to Colorado’s 0 to make it 47-42 Colorado with 14 minutes to go. That slowed down considerably once the Buff’s put an end to it. Colorado had brought the lead back up again to 12, leading 56-44 with 8:30 left. But once again, the Ducks managed to put together a run to cut down the large Colorado lead. With 6:30 left, Oregon trailed by only 5, 56-51 Colorado. This run didn’t prove to be any different from the rest, as once again, Colorado erased all progress Oregon had made, bringing the lead right back to 13 in just 2 minutes of game time. With 4:30 left, Colorado led 66-53. All game long, Oregon’s defense simply couldn’t hold off Colorado for long enough to let their offensive runs make any meaningful dent in the Buffaloes’ lead. After no real progress being made down the stretch, Chris Duarte hit a big three, then another off of an Eric Williams steal to bring the Ducks within 4 with 1:30 left in the game. However, Oregon couldn’t capitalize, and let the Buffs score 4 quick points. After an LJ Figueroa three to lower the deficit to 5 with 20 seconds left, the Ducks had to foul. They fouled Colorado big man Evan Battey, who sank both free throws to send the Ducks home with their first conference loss of the year. 

Final Score: 79-72 Colorado

Oregon Scoring Leader: Chris Duarte - 27 points, 10-17 from the field, 3-6 from three, 4-5 from the line. 4 steals and 2 blocks as well.

Oregon was low on numbers, with only 3 bench players available. Normally that might be an excuse for this loss, but it’s not valid if at times it seems like you only have 1 or 2 players available. Eugene Omoruyi carried the Ducks through the first half, while Chris Duarte carried the second. Every other player had a very tough time getting anything going, with the only other player to score in double digits being LJ Figueroa with 10. All 10 of those points came in the second half once Colorado had already taken control of the game. Eric Williams Jr., a player who has been important as a third option this season, finished with only 3 points on 9 attempts and was 0-2 from the line. When this team plays at its highest potential, it’s a strong, deep team with reliable scorers. Unfortunately, this team’s floor is low, and we saw that today. Figueroa and Williams are not as consistent as they need to be, and the only reason this team was ranked 17 going into today is because of Omoruyi and Duarte needing to carry the load if other players slack. Not only did we see that that doesn’t always work out, but it also is not a long-term solution. If Duarte and Omoruyi are expected to play close to 40 minutes like they did today just to keep it close, they aren’t going to be ready for March. Yes, any criticism of this team has to be footnoted with Will Richardson’s eventual return and what that can do for this team, one player can’t turn a team with such unprepared defensive schemes and inconsistent shooting into a formidable March team. At this point, my best advice for upset Duck fans is to stay patient. Despite my argument that small bench numbers isn’t an excuse, it’s still going to be huge to get players like Richardson and Terry back to take stress off Duarte and Omoruyi. The Colorado curse struck again today, but the Ducks have had a strong season up until this point, so this is not the end of the world. 

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