February 24, 2018
EUGENE, Ore. – Without head coach Sean Miller and star guard Allonzo Trier on the floor, Arizona played some determined offense in both halves Saturday but ultimately lost at Oregon for the second straight season because of a barrage of Duck 3-point shots.
Oregon won 98-93 in overtime after making 14 of 33 3-pointers, having beaten UA 85-58 last season when they hit 16 3s. The Ducks also had just four turnovers while UA had 17.
Deandre Ayton dominant but Arizona falls in OT
The loss wasted another dominant effort from embattled UA forward Deandre Ayton, who had 18 points and 16 rebounds. Miller, who opted to sit out Saturday’s game, was allegedly captured on a federal wiretap discussing a $100,000 payment to ensure Ayton played for the Wildcats, according to an ESPN report.
Oregon fans booed Ayton nearly every time he touched the ball and several of them also rubbed their thumbs and fingers together in a “pay up” gesture. But Ayton dominated by hitting 11 of 14 shots from the field and 6 of 6 from the line while only fouling once.
The loss dropped Arizona to 22-7 overall and 12-4, where they are one game ahead of USC in the loss column with two games left to play in the regular season. Oregon improved to 19-10 and 9-7.
Oregon scored the first five points of the overtime period, getting a 3-pointer from Payton Pritchard and a layup from Troy Brown, and hung on from there.
A dunk from UA’s Rawle Alkins generated a foul from Kenny Wooten under the basket, but Alkins was called for a technical foul after apparently jawing at Wooten. Oregon’s Troy Brown hit the two ensuing technical shots, while Alkins hit his free throw, putting the Ducks ahead 92-88.
A 3-pointer from Oregon’s MiKyle McIntosh with 1:07 left gave the Ducks a 95-88 lead, though a banked-in 3 from Alkins with six seconds left cut Oregon's lead to just 96-93. But Elijah Brown hit two free throws with 2.9 seconds left for the final margin.
Arizona burst out of the gate in both halves in regulation. Ahead by 12 points early and by 43-37 at halftime, Arizona took a 53-40 lead three minutes into the second half by the time Parker Jackson-Cartwright made a layup. But Oregon crept back and Troy Brown hit a 3 to pull them within 55-53 with 13:56 left and the Ducks later went on a 13-0 run to go ahead 68-64 on a 3-pointer from Payton Pritchard with 7:24 left.
The Ducks held a two point lead heading into the final three minutes of regulation, but the Ducks went ahead by five on a 3-pointer from Paull White. Rawle Alkins then missed a pair of free throws with 2:12 left but Keanu Pinder made two on UA’s next possession, cutting Oregon’s lead to 81-78 entering the final two minutes.
Elijah Brown made a pair of free throws that were followed by a layup from Parker Jackson-Cartwright that made it 83-80 and then Dylan Smith sank a 3-pointer to tie the game at 83 with 21 seconds left.
Oregon called a timeout before running a final play but Payton Pritchard missed a contested layup in the final seconds and UA’s Rawle Alkins grabbed the rebound before time expired, sending the game into overtime.
In the first half, Ayton led Arizona with 17 points and 11 rebounds to already post his 19th double-double of the season.
UA wound up shooting 56.3 percent but hit only 2 of 7 3-pointers. Oregon shot 40.0 percent but made 6 of 16 3-pointers, most during an early flurry.
Arizona raced to a 20-12 lead in the first five minutes by hitting its first six field goals and then making 9 of their first 12. But the Wildcats also allowed Oregon to hit five of its first six 3-pointers, some lightly guarded, and the Ducks never fell too far behind.
UA took leads of up to 12 points in the half but Oregon cut it to single digits in the final minutes.
Miller left the team before Saturday’s game and will not return with the team on their charter flight home early Sunday morning. Trier was sitting out a second game after testing positive again for a PED; UA is expected to request an appeal that could be heard next week.
UA associate head coach Lorenzo Romar coached the Wildcats in Miller's place Saturday.
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