The Oregon Ducks lost to the Stanford Cardinal at Matthew Knight Arena in devastating fashion. With Oregon down 82-80 with seven seconds left, UO’s two point guards Johnathan Loyd and Dominc Artis had good looks at game tying baskets. However, neither shot caught nylon and the score remained 82-80 as time expired. After losing its third game in a row, UO is undoubtedly going to fall out of the top 25.
We’ve had an awful eight days here,” UO head coach Dana Altman said.
After the last two losses, UO players and coaches had been emphatic about getting better defensively, but that just didn’t happen Sunday afternoon. The Cardinal shot a season high 53 percent, shot 43 percent beyond the arc and got to the free throw line 25 times.
Whether it’s communication or guys not knowing where they’re supposed to be, we’re usually a little off,” UO F Mike Moser said.
For the third game in a row, the Ducks allowed a starting point guard and an athletic wing to abuse UO’s defense. PG Chasson Randle lived in the lane all game long and scored 23 points and dished out four assists. Plus, the Ducks had no answer for lanky 6-foot-6 forward Anthony Brown, who scored 24 points on 10-12 shooting. The Ducks seem to simply lack the size and strength on the perimeter to contest big and athletic scoring wings who can knock down shots.
UO was able to hang tight because Stanford repeatedly missed crucial free throws, including a pair with seven seconds remaining which would’ve given the Cardinal a four point lead. Stanford shot just 64 percent from the charity strike.
Altman points to UO’s lack of a capable rim protector as one of the reasons they have struggled defensively.
“Teams are getting to the rim and scoring inside. It’s a concern,” Altman said.
Though Altman couldn’t find the lineup to stop Stanford, it wasn’t for a lack of trying. For the first time in five games, he decided to start Waverly Austin over Richard Amardi. Then he subbed in UO’s other center, Ben Carter. However, after neither proved effective, Altman mostly went back to his usual small lineups for the duration of the game. In a starting role, Austin only played five minutes and Carter only played four minutes.
Also, Damyean Dotson played 13 minutes in the first half but only six in the second half and Artis played nine minutes in the first half and just four in the second. In half two, Loyd played 19 minutes and Moser played 18 minutes.
“I’m not sure what the answer is, but we have to make some drastic changes to defend better,” Altman said.
Despite shooting 52 percent from the floor and 54 percent from the three point line, the Ducks were held nine points below their season average. Serious turnover issues and rebounding caused UO to get an abnormally low 18 shots in the first half. The Ducks committed 11 turnovers, leading to 13 Cardinal fast break points and had only one offensive rebound in half one. Plus, Stanford’s 2-3 zone was giving UO fits and the Ducks final field goal of the first half came at the 6:09 mark. Though the three-point line was UO’s friend all afternoon, the Ducks may have relied too heavily on three pointers. They made 12 three’s but finished with just 14 points in the paint.
Mike Moser led the way, scoring 22 of his 24 points in the 2nd half. At one point, the Ducks hit four three’s in a row including three by Moser. Dotson and Jason Calliste were the only other Ducks to reach double figures, scoring 10 and 12 respectively. Normally prolific Joseph Young only finished the game with five points, zero coming after halftime.
“We were worried about winning the league and all these other things, and we didn’t handle it well. We need to worry about one thing, getting better,” Altman said.
The Ducks have a week to reassess, reflect and rejuvenate for next Sunday’s game in Corvallis against Oregon State. The game will be the first of a three game road trip for UO.
Altman and Moser commented on the team’s upcoming road trip.
“Our character, coaching staff and consistency will be tested,” Altman said.
“It’s going to make or break us,” Moser added.