As a proud Duck, I think I speak for everyone when I say that Oregon’s men’s basketball team had one heck of a season this year. From the first game against Georgetown all the way to the NCAA playoffs, the Ducks have proven to many that they are a force to be reckoned with. The Ducks, along with Head Coach Dana Altman, put on an incredible season that many will remember forever. Here are three games that helped define the year:
Overtime Against Ole Miss
The Ole Miss game in December was one intense, overwhelming win for the Ducks. We all sat in suspense from the edge of our seats, watching the Rebels’ many 3-point shots rain down. Oregon was working hard to defend their 7-0 record, and many fans anxiously worried if the Rebels were going to put a number in our loss column.
Fortunately, our talented offense managed to take control of the game with six players scoring in double-digits. Oregon guard Johnathan Loyd managed 15 assists that night, which was the second most in school history. Altman felt pride in his team’s win but agreed that team defense had lost focus. He joked, “We were so happy we were scoring we forgot to guard.” Regardless, the Ducks once again were able to battle and win.
One of the biggest games of the season, the ever popular Civil War game against Oregon State University was a worrisome contest. Coming in to Sunday’s CW game the Ducks had lost three in a row, they needed this win now more than ever. The Ducks were also looking to avenge their early-season loss against the Beavers.
As 10,013 excited fans inside Matthew Knight Arena rallied and cheered their beloved Ducks, the team delivered. Missed shots and offensive fouls on two straight possessions by the Beavers stalled their comeback, and the Ducks went on a 9-0 run capped by a Jason Calliste 3-pointer with 2:51 remaining. OSU put up a good fight but ultimately fell 93-83. Oregon fans everywhere could not have been happier with the much-needed victory, and that it came against their historical rivals only added to the celebration.
Rushing the Court: A Big Victory Against the Arizona Wildcats
Oregon’s final home tilt was an incredible game against the Pac-12 leading and No. 3 ranked nationally Arizona Wildcats, and was a day Ducks fans will always remember. With March Madness on the brain and at arm’s reach, Oregon felt the pressure this contest brought.
Their huge fan base watched eagerly as the score stayed close between the two teams through most of the game. As the game went on, Oregon proved to their fans, and themselves, that they deserved to be part of the NCAA tournament.
With seven 3-pointers in the second half, and closing the game out with a 64-57 victory, fans inside Matthew Knight Arena excitedly rushed the court to join their beloved team. The scene on court was of the players, and their proud and adoring fans, jumping up and down and hugging each other. The victory and excitement capped a roller-coaster regular season for the team.
Overall, the University of Oregon Ducks had an incredible run this year. Altman, along with his hard working and dedicated team of men, made fans everywhere proud to cheer their team. Although the Ducks ultimately lost to Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament round of 32, they still honored the UO with their many tough plays and will to win throughout the season. Congrats to the boys in green!
Top photo by Kevin Cline