MATTHEW KNIGHT ARENA
Written Story by Griffin Bowes
Tonight’s game was a critical point in the Ducks season as they came in with realistic hopes of a conference championship, but a need for sustained momentum. They were able to put the pieces together to claim a 75-69 win over a tough Colorado team. Despite leading for the entire second half, this was not an easy win for Oregon. In the middle of the second, the Buffaloes went on a 9-0 run to trim the lead to 2, but the Ducks responded with a 6-0 run of their own. Colorado kept it competitive for the rest of the game, but Oregon made their free throws in the final minutes to escape with a hard-fought win.
Oregon shot very well in this game, going 26-53 (49%) from the field, and 7-19 from 3 (37%). The Ducks had three players score at least 11 points, those being senior forward Quincy Guerrier, junior guard Keeshawn Barthelemy, and sophomore center Nate Bittle. Guerrier was the leading scorer with 16 points on 6-11 shooting, and he added six rebounds. The Ducks were also strong on the glass, as they outrebounded the Buffs 38-34. Bittle led the team with 13 rebounds, and star guard Will Richardson led with six assists. Head Coach Dana Altman was impressed with his team’s performance tonight, especially the individual play of Bittle, Guerrier, and Richardson. The Ducks’ next game is a home contest against 14-7 Utah on Saturday, a team they beat handily a couple weeks ago. Altman said the Utes will be “fired up”, and the deciding factors in the game will be 3-pointers and rebounding. Altman’s concerns are very much justified. Oregon shot well from 3 tonight, but outside shooting has been a struggle for much of the season. Also, they are winless when they get outrebounded by the opponent. Barthelemy and Bittle expressed motivation to fill their roles on a team that has struggled with injuries for most of the season. The Ducks’ resilience has been admirable.
Colorado got off to a strong start, holding the Ducks scoreless for almost 4 minutes early in the first half. However, they were unable to maintain their defensive success, as Oregon took over late in the first. The Buffs were able to fight back multiple times in the second half, thanks to strong 3-point shooting (38%), but they couldn’t convert when it mattered most. Junior forward Tristan DeSilva had a strong performance with a game best 23 points, and junior guard Nique Clifford scored his season high with 17. However, no other Colorado player scored over 8 points, and the lack of depth cost them. The Buffs will travel to Corvallis to play the 8-12 Oregon State Beavers on Saturday.
Audio Story by Aiden Hess