The 13th-ranked Oregon Ducks defeated an upset-minded BYU team, 100-96 in OT, to improve to 11-0 on the season.
In a matchup of two of the top offensive teams in the nation, many had expected the kind of fireworks the two teams provided in the overtime thriller.
And once again when the outcome seemed in doubt, is was Altman’s team making the plays when it mattered most as the Ducks (11-0) came roaring back to another tough non-conference win.
The Cougars came into Matthew Knight 8-4 on the season, but showed up with a determined mind set and displayed the type of grit a team who had previously knocked off the likes of Stanford and Texas, would be expected to provide. And, for all but 1:02, led in Matthew Knight and seemed headed for another upset win.
Tyler Haws started fast on offense, scoring nine Cougar points in the first four and a half minutes, and BYU went with a suffocating man-to-man defense that seemed to hold the Oregon offense in check for much of the evening. Damyean Dotson also had a good start, and kept the Ducks close with a quick drive & layup and then a nice pass to Moser in the corner for three giving Oregon a 5-3 advantage early. It would be the last lead for the Ducks – until the overtime period.
Skyler Halford used back-to-back 3s to give the Cougars a 40-32 lead with 6:11 to play, their largest lead of the period. BYU shot 56.7% from the field and held the Ducks to just 16-40 (40%) from the field (6-20 from three). The Cougars aggressiveness showed up in the box score as they attempted 14 free throws (converting nine) compared to just three on five attempts for the Ducks. BYU had the momentum and led, 47-41, at halftime.
In the second half, it was more of the same for Oregon, as BYU players sold out in their man defense and scrapped for loose balls, closed out on jump shots and attacked the passing lanes of the Ducks, making Oregon work for everything they got. And when they didn’t, Oregon either missed open shots, conceded offensive rebounds, which afforded valuable second chance opportunities for the Cougars.
It confounded Altman’s team, as they played catch up for the entire period. It was a frustrating cycle where Oregon would go on a run, but each time they did, BYU would find a way to answer – quieting most of the decidedly bi-partisan crowd of 8,035 — and snatching the momentum back.
Oregon missed two shots from point blank range while down just three, and a Mike Moser foul on the rebound put Nate Austin at the line. He hit one of two, giving the Cougars a four-point lead, at 84-80 with 75 seconds to play, giving them a solid shot at finishing off the upset.
But Oregon’s depth and experience began to show itself when Mike Moser took a charge with 45 seconds remaining, and then sank a jumper which tied the game at 84. After an empty Cougar possession, Moser then grabbed the rebound and Johnathan Loyd raced up the floor all the way to the hoop, drawing contact but no call on the missed layup.
Elgin Cook ripped down the rebound and drew the foul on a put back, but missed both free throws to send the game into OT. Cook again played with great effort, and finished with seven points, six rebounds including five offensive, an assist and two blocks in 24 minutes.
In the extra period, both teams fought for each point and each possession early, with Tyler Haws, who could not be stopped, scoring his 30th point (he would finish with 32) on a deep two. But then the Ducks’ Joseph Young answered right back with a deep three right in front of the Oregon bench, to again tie the game at 92 with just over two minutes remaining. The huge bucket seemed to swing the momentum back to the home team. Young, Oregon’s leading scorer, was in some foul trouble early but finished with 25 points and five rebounds.
Then the Ducks finally had the ball bounce their way, literally.
First, Mike Moser missed a short jumper, only to have the rebound put back by Elgin Cook on an athletic perfectly timed move. After a missed BYU three pointer, a wild scrum for the ball ensued, but Moser managed to put the game on ice by corralling a loose-ball that flew some twenty feet above the court. The senior added two free throws which gave the Ducks 100 points for the fourth time this season.
With how they played for 38 minutes, this is a game that the Ducks really had no business winning, but give this team credit as Dana Altman’s Ducks simply would not fold. In the first 11 games of this young season, Oregon has been on the ropes several times. But each time they have fought back and won, showing the ability to keep fighting against the type of tough situations that they will inevitably face heading into conference play and beyond.
The Ducks will get a full week off before a final tune-up game against the Morgan State Bears (3-7 MEAC) next Sunday at Noon, Dec. 29, before starting conference play on the road at Utah – a team who bested BYU, 81-64 – and conclude the trip in Boulder against 10-2 Colorado.
Notes & Stats:
– BYU’s 51 rebounds was one shy of the Matthew Knight arena record. They out rebounded Oregon 51-40.
– BYU had five players score at least 12 points, the Ducks had four in Calliste (31) Young (25) Dotson (15) and Moser (12)
– Oregon forced 18 BYU turnovers, including 12 steals – the third time in the past four games the Ducks have had at least 11.
– BYU shot just 61.1% on free throws (22-36) while Oregon shot 77.4 (24-31) and had 22 attempts in the second half, and only nine in the first half and OT combined.
– Oregon is 11-0 for the fifth time in school history, and first since going 13-0 to start the ’06-’07 season.
– Johnathan Loyd had six assists, moving him past Fred Jones for sixth all time at 372.
Jason Calliste – “It felt like we were down 50, but we just had to keep playing.”
On his career high 31 points – “That’s how I like to play. I was playing in my natural spot at the two (spot) and was just trying to make plays for my team.”
Dana Altman – “We were fortunate, we got beat by 11 on the boards (51-40), and we got outplayed for a large part of the game. We didn’t guard the way we wanted to, and we took a lot of bad shots. I didn’t like our shot selection. We were in a hurry.”
Damyean Dotson – “I didn’t feel 100% defensively, but this was probably the most exciting game I’ve ever played in.”
Tweet of the game: BYU play by play announcer Greg Wrubell
First time in the Rose era that BYU has lost a game after leading with 1:00 to play in regulation; now 212-1.
— Greg Wrubell (@gregwrubell) December 22, 2013
Top Photo by Craig Strobeck