LAS VEGAS – Let the nickname Johnny Basketball ring across the college basketball landscape as Oregon’s junior Johnathan Loyd put in the performance of the tournament.
Loyd scored 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting to lead the Oregon Ducks (26-8, 12-6) past the UCLA Bruins (25-9, 13-5), 78-69, in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Loyd was named the Pac-12 Player of the Tournament.
The Ducks struggled coming out of the gate, surrendering careless turnover after careless turnover before bringing backups Loyd and Carlos Emory (20 points to lead all scorers) off of the bench. And it was the bench that carried the Ducks to victory, out-scoring the starters 41-37.
Oregon went 7-of-9 from three-point range in the first half. Loyd, Emory and Dotson were on fire from the get go, and it continued into the second half.
UCLA, playing without injured guard Jordan Adams, struggled moving the ball and looked out of rhythm all night. The Bruins turned the ball over 14 times, including eight times in the first half alone.
What made the night extra special for Loyd, the Las Vegas native, was he was playing the game in front of family and friends at MGM Arena.
[gn_quote style=”1″]“To do this in front of my family, friends, hometown, it’s just an amazing feeling,” Loyd said.[/gn_quote]
Oregon will await its seeding in the tournament, but figure to climb dramatically from their previous projection of a nine seed before the weekend. The Ducks could see themselves climb as a high as a five seed, but more realistically a six or seven seed.
With point guard Dominic Artis (0 points, two assists, three turnovers) struggling again after returning from injury, it will be interesting to see who head coach Dana Altman chooses to go with to start in the tournament.
Comment below on where you see the Ducks being seeded. Do they make a deep run in the tournament or are they out after the first weekend. Make sure to follow the conversation on EDN’s Facebook page and Twitter @EugeneDailyNews