Possibly one of the most crucial games for the Oregon Ducks of the last few years came this last Thursday, and as most expected it was a battle the whole way. Colorado was entering the game off an upset win against the conference leading California Golden Bears and was also trying to win their chances into the NCAA March Madness Tournament as a bubble team. As for the Ducks. they as well needed this win more than anything or it was quite possible they would be heading to the NIT tournament instead.
The game began with both teams going back and fourth sharing baskets until Colorado finally extended their lead to nine points with five minutes left in the first half. Head coach Dana Altman called a full timeout and got the teams focus back together. Oregon then cut the lead back to one point, however with Colorado made two baskets within the last minute to go into the half with a five point lead.
But as soon as the second half began Oregon was ready. Something must’ve hit them whether it was the inspiration from Joker and the Thief regular playing or the lights out shooting by point guard Garrett Sim. Combining the Ducks win versus Oregon State and Colorado, Sim shot 16-24, with 44 points, and nine three pointers. As for the rest of the team, well the hot shooting didn’t differ. Oregon ended up shooting 61.5 percent in the second half. Leading the Ducks was Devoe Joseph, who finished with 24 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals.
As for the Buffaloes, Carlon Brown led the team with 20 points, who as a team shot just as well as the Ducks, however weren’t able to connect as much behind the three point line. Colorado is now sitting in fifth place in the Pac 12, and has most likely lost their chances of making a spot into the NCAA March Madness Tournament.
Be that as it may, the Oregon Ducks crucially benefited from this win. With the win the Ducks are now tied with Arizona for third place in the Pac 12. If the Ducks win Oregon will win the tiebreaker because of their January 14th win in Tuscon against the Wildcats. This helps to put the Ducks in a good spot, not only now have they beat a team that just came off of being California, but the Ducks also have clinched a first round bye in the Pac 12 tournament.
The Ducks last conference game is today against the Utah Utes. Utah is 3-14, and in second to last place in the Pac 12, just ahead of USC, who notably had their only win against Utah. Oregon’s first visit to Utah ended in a 79-68 win. In that game the Ducks got off to a slow start letting Utah stay even with them at the half, however getting their engines started in the second half and going on to win by 11.
If the Ducks win this game, they will finish the season with a 22-8 record. With the record and a strong performance in the Pac 12 tournament, the Oregon Ducks should make themselves a strong case to win a bubble spot into the March Madness.