The Oregon Ducks basketball team(17-8, 5-8) secured meteoric milestones for head coach Dana Altman and PG Johnathan Loyd in their 78-71 victory over the Washington Huskies(14-13, 6-8) at Matthew Knight Arena. Along with Altman’s 500th collegiate victory, the game was Loyd’s 90th win of his UO career, eclipsing EJ Singler’s record for most wins by a single player in UO history.
“It makes you reflect,” Altman said regarding the milestone.
“You realize how fortunate you are. 25 years surviving…. not a lot of guys do it. Everything I have been able to do with my teams is because of really good players. I’ve worked for really good people, really strong people,” he added.
“Shout out to E, that’s my brother. I love him. I’m glad I could take it from him,” Loyd said regarding surpassing Singler.
“When he’s played well and when he hasn’t played well, he’s always busted him butt. He’s always been about the team. So yeah, I feel good for him,” Altman said.
“Some people suck energy. Johnny gives energy everyday for four years,” he added.
As for the game itself, the Ducks lost the battle on the boards 33-21 and didn’t force as many turnovers as the Huskies(TO’s: UO-13, UW-12), but shot well enough and played gritty defense down the stretch to secure the victory.
However, they trailed 39-36 after getting manhandled in the paint by UW F Perris Blackwell. Though Blackwell was benched for the first time this season against UO, his wide body was no match for UO big men in Seattle, where he scored a season high 16 points, or in the first half in Eugene. Blackwell scored 10 points and UO gave up 30 points in the paint overall in the first half. However, UO forced UW to shoot from the outside very often in the second half and only gave up 10 points in the paint after halftime.
“I thought our defensive intensity really picked up in the second half,” Altman said.
“I thought Johnny and DA getting up to create pressure in the second half helped us,” he added.
The Ducks started the second half on a 10-0 run and held even with UW for the rest of the game to attain the victory.
UO shot 57 percent from the field, mostly coming from the strong play of starters G Damyean Dotson, F Mike Moser, G Joseph Young and Loyd. The quartet finished with 64 of UO’s 78 points.
“When everyone is hot like that, we’re pretty dangerous,” Moser said.
After giving up 23 points to G CJ Wilcox, the third leading scorer in the Pac-12, in Seattle, Dotson and Calliste were able to shut him down in Eugene. Wilcox scored just nine points on 2-8 shooting.
“Coach wanted me and Jason to just try to deny Wilcox the ball and limit him some shots. I tried my hardest to not let him get going and it came out good,” Dotson said.
Dotson played with emotion and intensity on both ends, but also shot an economical 7-8 from the floor and scored 17 points.
“I thought he was really solid. His shot selection was really good, defensively I thought he was really good and he had four rebounds, three on the defensive end,” Altman said.
Moser accumulated 20 points on the night and has scored at least 14 points in his last three outings.
He also delivered arguably the most important play of the game. With 1:30 left in the second half and the Ducks up just 73-70, Moser drove to the hoop on a broken play and made an and-one bank shot while drawing a foul on F Bobby Simmons, who subsequently fouled out of the game.
“We messed up the play, but I just broke it off and did my own thing and it worked,” Moser said.
Despite the strong play from the starters, the UO bench couldn’t make a significant impact. UO’s third leading scorer, G Jason Calliste, didn’t tally a single point, F Richard Amardi scored just two points and Dominic Artis, who has scored just four points in his last three games, only put up two points against UW.
Altman commented on Artis’ struggles:
“He wants it so bad that he’s trying to hard. I’m trying to get him to relax. He had too really good days of practice. It just didn’t go well for him,” Altman said.
The Ducks will look to win their third straight game against Washington State at home on Sunday night at 6 p.m. UO beat WSU 71-44 in Pullman, but the Cougars were missing leading scorer G Devonte Lacy for that game.
“They will be a different team with Lacy,” Altman said.
“We have five game left and we have to keep going one game at a time.”