Oregon fails to rise to the occasion in Civil War Pac-12 opener
Oregon (11-3, 0-1 Pac-12) was understandably at a loss for words following its 70-57 Pac-12 opening loss to Oregon State (10-1, 1-0).
Head coach Dana Altman pointed the finger at the Beavers’ 31 points off turnovers and second chance points. Sophomore Dillon Brooks (13 points) felt like the team played too selfishly.
Both would agree that the Ducks just didn’t show up to play in any facet of the game. The Beavers held the advantage on rebounds (37-32), turnover department (8-12) and overall field goal percentage (44.4 percent-35.8 percent).
All things considered, Oregon just didn’t deserve to win this game.
“It was all about competing,” Brooks said. “Oregon State outcompeted us and we were just sitting down, laying down. That’s not Oregon basketball.”
As usual, Gill Coliseum, which sold out for the first Civil War matchup of the year, was deafening. The sea of orange and black was especially riled up to remind its in-state rivals about Oregon football’s heartbreaking collapse in triple overtime to TCU in the Valero Alamo Bowl.
Before the game started, a wave of “We want Lockie” chants flooded the airwaves, setting an unwelcoming tone for the rest of the evening.
Neither Brooks nor Altman used these distractions as an excuse.
“It was a great atmosphere and I just can’t wait to get them back at our house,” Brooks said.
Oregon dug itself in a hole before the game really got going. Going 6-of-21 from the floor in the first half, the Ducks were forced to play catch up.
Still, Oregon had its chances to come back.
At the 14:17 mark in the second half, a Chris Boucher tip-in cut the Beavers’ steady lead to single digits. If there was any moment that Oregon was going to get back into this game, this was it.
But what ensued was a game changing, jaw dropping, one-handed transition Gary Payton (12 points, six rebounds, six assists) slam that immediately squashed Oregon’s gaining momentum. Elgin Cook would answer, but Tres Tinkle’s (19 points) alley-oop to Drew Eubanks on the other end proved it wasn’t going to be Oregon’s night.
Whether it is the lack of a leader — Brooks and Tyler Dorsey combined for 23 points on 6-of-19 shooting — or consistent outside shooting — the team went 7-for-25 tonight, Oregon has some pressing questions to answer in these coming days.
“Leadership is a part of it, absolutely,” Altman said.
Pac-12 play has started and it’s not going to slow down for anyone. And with a talent stacked California team (12-3, 2-0) that is coming off a 71-58 win over then-No. 21 Utah (11-4, 0-2) coming to Eugene on Wednesday, Altman can only hope his team gets it together. The most crucial part of the season has arrived for unranked Oregon. It’s time to find out what this team is truly made of.
“We don’t focus on a lot of things. That’s been a concern for a long time, ” Altman said. “I keep talking about us making more progress and [I’m] disappointed, obviously, with the progress we made this last week. That wasn’t good a effort on our part.”
Follow Hayden Kim on Twitter @HayDayKim
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