Oregon (13-2, 2-0) withstood an 11-0 run to start the game by Arizona (14-1, 2-1) and kept things close until late in the first half and then Oregon took control of the game. With 5:41 left to play in the first half Oregon went on a 16-4 run to close out the half and build a 41-30 lead. In the second half Oregon was able to hold on by the skin of their teeth for a 70-66 victory over No. 3 Arizona for the Dana Altman era’s biggest win.
“I thought the guys did a good job. We weren’t quite ready to start that game it looked like getting down 11-0,” said Dana Altman. “The guys really fought back. The crowd...unbelievable energy in there tonight. They [Arizona] are a team that’s won 14...you could see their confidence when they were down. The guys did a great job and I am really happy for them.”
Singler finished the game with 14 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists to lead Oregon. Dominic Artis added 10 points, three assists, three rebounds, and two steals. Carlos Emory and Tony Woods added 10 points each.
Arsalan Kazemi started his second game off the bench and chipped in six points, eight rebounds, one assist, and one steal.
“It’s pretty much indescribable,” Singler said of Oregon’s upset win. “It’s a great feeling. I am so happy our team fought at the end and got the ‘W’ and so proud of our team...with how hard we played. So happy we got this win.”
“I am at a loss for words right now...it feels good but it is just a start,” added Johnathan Loyd. “That’s a true home court advantage for us.”
The victory over Arizona is Oregon’s biggest win of the year and likely the best win for the Oregon program since Jan. 6 2007 when Oregon upset No. 1 ranked UCLA.
“I think it’s a good landmark. We had a good road win at UNLV and this home win against Arizona are two good wins for us,” says Singler. “I think like John said this is just a start. It’s not our high point. We still have some goals to accomplish. This is just a start.”
“To win the Pac-12,” Singler continued about this team’s goals for the season. “That’s a big goal for us. That win at Oregon State and the win here is just a start. We got to keep on pushing...we got to get ready for Arizona State...they are a good team too.”
Artis floats in an attempt late.
Oregon was able to withstand run after run from the Wildcats in the second half and it seemed like no matter what impressive feat Arizona did Oregon had an answer.
Things got interesting in the final two minutes when Oregon led 67-58 and couldn’t hand Arizona’s full-court press. Oregon couldn’t put the Wildcats away as Nick Johnson made a layup off a steal and Mark Lyons followed it up with a huge three in the corner and Oregon’s lead was just 67-63.
Singler would add two important free throws with just 67 seconds remaining, but it wasn’t enough. Nick Johnson would hit another three for Arizona to make it 69-66 with just 50 seconds left.
Oregon was able to kill some time and then get a steal with 15 seconds left and junior Johnathan Loyd made one of two free throws to ice the game for Oregon’s victory.
Following the the final buzzer Oregon’s student section that topped over 2,000 people stormed onto the court in celebration with the Oregon players.
“We’ve had some big wins...tonight was a good win because they were really highly ranked,” said Dana Altman. “But if January 10th is our high than this team really under-achieved. But it was a good win tonight because Arizona is a good team. They are a well coached team. “
“I am happy for the guys. I am really happy for the students tonight. That was really fun for the players tonight. The energy for our players in the locker room...all they talked about was out there on the circle with everyone piling onto the floor. They loved that. Tremendous energy and a lot of fun.”
The Ducks shot an impressive 25-of-42 from the floor for 48.1-percent. That hot shooting was also seen from three where Oregon has struggled all year. Thursday night however Oregon was on fire and couldn’t miss and they made 7-of-11 for 63.6-percent.
Oregon lost the rebounding edge to Arizona 32-28 but Oregon was able to turn 14 Arizona turnovers into 21 points. The Ducks also had 18 fast break points and 17 points coming off the bench. Arizona only got six points from their bench.
Arizona was led by senior Mark Lyons who scored a game-high 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting. Senior Solomon Hill added 16 points and six rebounds. Nick Johnson was the only other Wildcat player to score in double figures with 12 points.