Oregon fails to rise to the occasion in Civil War Pac-12 opener
Oregon (11-3, 0-1 Pac-12) was understandably at a loss of words following its 70-57 Pac-12 opener loss to Oregon State (10-1, 1-0).
Head coach Dana Altman pointed the finger at the Beavers’ 31 points off turnovers and second chance points. Dillon Brooks (13 points) felt like the team played too selfish.
Both would agree that the Ducks just didn’t show up to play in any facet of the game. The Beavers held the advantage on the glass (37-32), turnover department (8-12) and overall field goal percentage (44.4 percent-35.8 percent).
All things considered, Oregon just didn’t deserve to win this game.
“It was all about competing,” Brooks said. “Oregon State outcompeted us and we were just sitting down, laying down. That’s not Oregon basketball.”
As usual, Gill Coliseum, which sold out for the first Civil War matchup of the year, was deafening. The sea of orange and black was especially riled up to remind its in-state rivals about Oregon’s heartbreaking collapse in triple overtime to TCU in last night’s Valero Alamo Bowl.
Before the game even started, a wave of “we want Lockie” chants flooded the airwaves, setting an unwelcoming tone for the rest of the evening.
Neither Brooks nor Altman used these expected distractions as an excuse.
“It was a great atmosphere and I just can’t wait to get them back at our house,” Brooks said.
Oregon dug itself in a hole before the game really even got going. Going 6-of-21 from the floor in the first half, the Ducks were forced to play catch up.
Still, Oregon had its chances to come back.
At the 14:17 mark in the second half, a Chris Boucher tip-in cut the Beavers’ steady lead to single digits. If there was any moment or stretch that Oregon was going to get back into this game, this was it.
But what ensued was a game changing, jaw dropping, one-handed transition Gary Payton II (12 points, six rebounds, six assists) slam that immediately squashed Oregon’s gaining momentum. Elgin Cook would answer, but Tres Tinkles (19 points) ally-oop to Drew Eubanks on the other end just proved it wasn’t going to be Oregon’s night.
Whether it is the lack of a leader — Brooks and Tyler Dorsey combined for 23 points on 6-of-19 shooting — or consistent outside shooting — went 7-for-25 tonight — Oregon has some pressing questions to answer in these coming days.
“Leadership is a part of it, absolutely,” Altman said.
Pac-12 play has started and it’s not going to slow down for anyone. And with a talent stacked California team (12-3, 2-0) that is coming off a 71-58 win over No. 21 Utah (11-4, 0-2) coming to town on Wednesday, Altman can only hope his team gets it together. The most crucial part of the season has arrived for unranked Oregon. It’s time to find out what this team’s truly made of.
“I’m concerned all the time,” Altman said. “We don’t focus on a lot of things. That’s been a concern for a long time. I keep talking about us making more progress and (I’m) disappointed obviously with the progress we made this last week. That wasn’t good effort on our part.”
Follow Hayden Kim on Twitter @HayDayKim