Oregon did everything right against Stanford Saturday night, and avenged its worst loss of the season in the process. After a disappointing 48-46 loss to Cal Thursday, Oregon’s balanced scoring and points off turnovers propelled them to a 77-66 victory. The win took away the chance for the Bay Area schools to sweep the Ducks, and payback for its 24 point loss to Stanford earlier in the season.
Junior point guard Johnathan Loyd said the revenge was sweet for the Ducks.
“Anytime you get blown out by 25, it’s always going to be payback,” Loyd said. “That was in the back of everybody’s mind.”
Oregon had four players score in double figures, led by Carlos Emory‘s 19 points. Emory had 17 of those points in the second half. Loyd also had a big game for the Ducks with season highs in points (15) and assists (9). Loyd was ecstatic with his play after struggles in past games.
“I needed [this game]. My teammates have been putting faith in me.” Loyd said. “They have been telling me they believe in me, they trust me. They knew I could do it so I just stepped up.”
Loyd said he heard Stanford’s bench talking about how he couldn’t guard Aaron Bright and Loyd took that personally. The difference for Loyd was hitting shots early and building up his confidence.
“I was just making sure that the first shot I took was one that I really wanted to take, and it was a good one and I was going to knock it down,” Loyd said. “Because I was having a solid game all around I hit a couple shots and when that happens, all my energy just picks up because I feel like i’m contributing more.”
Head coach Dana Altman called Loyd after Thursday’s loss to Cal to tell him to keep his head up. Altman said he was very happy for Loyd and his play tonight.
“To see him have a ball game like that and just absolutely be the difference in the game,” Altman said. “There’s no one who cares about our team more than Johnny.”
The turnover battle was also a key to the Ducks’ victory, as they held a 17-13 advantage over Stanford tonight. Oregon also had 25 points off turnovers and 12 steals on the game.
Oregon broke open in the game in the second half, after a four point halftime lead. A 16-6 run put the Ducks in the lead for good, 51-36. The Ducks also led by 24 points at one time. Stanford struggled to score early in the second half, shooting 2-11 from the field midway through the second half. Stanford finished shooting 37.7 percent, much to do with leading scorer Dwight Powell’s foul trouble throughout the game. Powell finished with 16 points, 12 in the first half, but had to be taken out after he got his fourth foul two minutes into the second half.
Oregon was shot over 48 percent from the field and attacked the basket all night, leading to 42 points in the paint. Oregon took smart shots all game even though they were only 2-7 from the three-point line. Woods said the Ducks strength is in attacking the basket.
“We’re just a better team when we attack the basket and we did a lot of that tonight.” Woods said.
And Loyd said opponents have to respect all the players on the floor when everyone contributes.
“It spreads the floor.” Loyd said. “If we’re all hitting shots and being aggressive they have to guard all of us.”
The win puts the Ducks in a tie for first place in the Pac-12 with Arizona at 11-4. The win was also the 600th for Altman in his career. Altman said starting point guard Dominic Artis, who was out for his ninth straight game, will hopefully be back for the Civil War game. With three Pac-12 games left, including the Ducks last home game against Oregon State, Oregon is in the race to be the conference champions.
“If we win out we’ll be the champions.” Loyd said. “We’ve just gotta take it one game at a time and keep getting W’s.”