STORY: Oregon Men’s Basketball sees their season end in the NIT, losing at home to Wisconsin, 61-58

By Levi Profitt

The Oregon Ducks lost the last game of their NIT postseason run in Matthew Knight Arena to the Wisconsin Badgers by a score of 61-58. Oregon kept it neck-and-neck with the Badgers in the first half, with Wisconsin holding an early lead of 27-26 after the first frame. Oregon shot just 10% from downtown in that first half, and 1-5 from the free throw line, using tough inside defense and solid closeouts to keep it as close as it was. From their defensive effort, they were able to keep Wisconsin to just 10-29 on field goals in the first half, frustrating the Badgers.

The second half would be a different story, as both teams started trading buckets at a higher frequency, and Oregon started finding their range from downtown. With 9:40 left in the game, Oregon held an eight point lead from three point makes from players like Nate Bittle, Rivaldo Soares, and Keeshawn Barthelemy. The Ducks forced a number of Wisconsin mistakes in the stretch where they were finding their marks as well, however never able to take a double digit over the Badgers. As the game dwindled down, it would be the free throws that helped the Badgers crawl back into the game and end up taking down Oregon. The Ducks would end up shooting just 4-12 from the free throw line in the final tally, while Wisconsin went 12-13 on their attempts. The biggest shot of the game came when Wisconsin guard Chucky Hepburn found himself wide open on the elbow for a triple that would end up being the shot that put Wisconsin ahead for good. Quincy Guerrier had a chance to tie the game for an extra period at the buzzer, but it would land back iron and lead to Oregon seeing their season come to an abrupt end after two wins to start the NIT on their home floor.

Keeshawn Barthelemy would lead the Ducks in points for the final tally, scoring 15 despite suffering what he described as a “twisted ankle” in the postgame. Also in the postgame, head coach Dana Altman remarked on the disappointments that came from what he saw in the game, and the season overall. He would also express some disappointment about what he labeled a smaller crowd in attendance, totaling around 3,300.

Oregon’s 2022-2023 season ends with a total record of 21-15, which Altman also called “not good enough”. They enter the offseason knowing they’ll be losing at least one player in senior guard Will Richardson. Guard Jermaine Couisnard and center Nate Bittle have already said publicly they’ll be coming back for their subsequent years in an Oregon uniform. It’s a second season Oregon sees their year end in the NIT, and Altman seems to know there’s work ahead for this team to be where he expects them to end up.