Dominic Artis’ injury a blessing in disguise?

When Dominic Artis went down with a foot injury midway through conference play, fans and analysts predicted the Ducks’ season to spiral downward.  At first, it seemed they were right when the Ducks lost three games in a row to sub-par teams.  They took a pounding from Stanford and lost to Cal – again – as Altman is still winless against the Golden Bears in his stint at Oregon.  They returned to Eugene with hopes for home cooking to extend a 20-game home winning streak dating back to last season.  The Buffaloes of Colorado – not fazed by this impressive stat – came into Matt Knight Arena and stunned the crowd, winning on a last minute layup.

With Artis back the Ducks have a great point guard tandem to lead the way

The Ducks were hit in the mouth; it was up to them to get back up and fight.  With Artis’ injury, backup point guard Johnathan Loyd was now in the spotlight.  His play the first three games as a starter was by his own admission not as good as he felt it should be, causing fans to bury their hands in their faces and to wonder what the Ducks had become.  To be fair, Loyd was thrust in a role for which he had little experience — that of a starting point guard.  There were bound to be bumps.  Things were going to look bleak, and ”panic” was the word that many used in overreaction to describe the team at the time.

Coach Dana Altman did not give up on his team.  As critics and fans railed at the Ducks, he stuck with his guns and trusted Johnathan Loyd to turn it around – and that is exactly what Loyd did.  Since the three-game losing streak the Ducks have gone on to win five of their last six games, with the one loss being to Coach Altman’s White Whale in Berkeley.  Johnathan Loyd and the Ducks elevated their level of play to new heights and caught everyone off guard.  The team rode Loyd’s back as he posted double digits in scoring during three of the five wins and came close to double-double, dishing out nine assists.  Thanks to Loyd’s stellar play, the Ducks are back as a team and in contention for the league title.

Through this Artis-less stretch the Ducks  – especially Johnathan Loyd – faced plenty of adversity and criticism, but that didn’t stop them.  Instead, they played with chips on their shoulders and proved they can do it without their star point guard.   The hardships have made them a stronger team both mentally and physically, and Artis’ return makes them even more dangerous.   They rose against adversity once and can certainly do it again.   The tournament could not come at a better time as the reinvigorated Ducks, led by Dominic Artis – and Johnathan Loyd - hit the home stretch in what may be one of the most  improbable seasons the Ducks  have ever seen.

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Luc Hancock

Luc Hancock

Luc Hancock is a senior at the University of Oregon majoring in Public Relations. He is from San Francisco, California and loves all sports, with his favorites being baseball and basketball. Luc is a die hard bay area sports fan and has been spoiled with the recent success of his teams in the past year. He did not become a Ducks fan until he came to the university 3 years ago, but now accepts them along with his other favorite teams. When Luc is not writing, thinking, or playing sports, he enjoys watching Seinfeld reruns and hanging out with friends. Luc is open to feed back. Follow him on twitter @luchancock

  • Doesn’t matter that He wen’t down cause after losing to Utah, this Team has forgotten what got them here before Artis injury. Defense. To be able to Beat Utah and at least win a share of the Title, they couldn’t get it done. A season that at one time looked like Oregon would Win the Title W/O a doubt, is looking like a 1 and done in the Tourney, and I’m not talking about the Pac Tourney. Dana Altman has forgotten how to Coach Apparently, because this Team should be the Pac 12 Champion’s and they Blew it. You don’t lose to the worst Team in the Pac 12 and have a chance to Win their 1st Title since 2002. Terrible Coaching. Altman had Creighton in the Big Dance every year, and this is the most Talented Team He’s had since becoming the Coach. Not having this Team ready to win the Title the last two Game’s fall’s on his shoulder’s and He’s clearly failed at his Job. That’s why he get’s paid the Big BUCK’s. He need’s these guy’s playing better, Free Throw’s, Rebounding, Dfense, because this Team need’s to recommit itself and be embarrassed and Win the Pac 12 Title, because they shouldn’t be regressing at the end like they are and that fall’s on Altman.