Oregon will finish below .500 in Pac-12 regular-season play, but the Ducks took a big step towards making a successful run in the Pac-12 Tournament by defeating host Colorado 64-62 Thursday night.
The Ducks (15-14, 7-10 Pac-12), who entered the game in an eighth-place tie with Utah, moved into a three-way tie for seventh place with the Utes and Washington with the victory. A higher finish in the regular-season standings could help Oregon avoid Cal and Stanford until later in the conference’s postseason tournament.
In contrast to their loss to Oregon State last weekend in which Oregon crumbled down the stretch, the Ducks played well in the second half to defeat the Buffaloes. Trailing 30-28 at halftime after shooting 27 percent in the first half, the Ducks went on a 10-3 run early in the second half to break a 38-38 tie and seemingly grab control of the contest.
However, after trailing for the next 12 minutes, Colorado (16-12, 5-12 Pac-12) tied the game at 62 with 2:16 left on a three-pointer by Lexy Kresl. Oregon retook the lead on the ensuing possession when guard Laura Stanulis made a free throw. Neither team capitalized on the next several possessions, and the score stayed 63-62 until Duck guard Ariel Thomas made a free throw with eight seconds left to give the Ducks a 64-62 advantage.
The Buffaloes had one final attempt at sending the game to overtime, but Colorado guard Brittany Wilson missed a layup in the closing seconds, and Oregon held on.
Amanda Johnson and Deanna Weaver led the Ducks with 11 points apiece, and Johnson added a game-high 12 rebounds. Chucky Jeffery scored a game-high 19 points for Colorado, and Buffalo forward Julie Seabrook added 16.
Oregon will conclude its regular season at 2 p.m. on Saturday when they visit Utah.