EUGENE, OR – The No. 24 Wildcats fought and clawed, but it wasn’t enough as the Arizona Basketball team (11-4, 1-1) came up just short in their loss to Oregon.
It was a marquee match-up between two solid Pac-12 foes on Thursday evening, but the Arizona Basketball team came up short in their upset bid of No. 9 Oregon, falling to the Ducks in overtime by a 74-73 final.
Nico Mannion would finish with 20 points, but six turnovers, meanwhile Josh Green would add 17 points and five rebounds of his own, but it wasn’t enough as the Wildcats couldn’t get the tough win on the road.
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Things started out great, especially as the Wildcats climbed to a 26-16 lead, but I’m sure as everyone could have anticipated, the Ducks were going to rally back, but it was a question of how much and when.
Up 10 with 7:55 to go in the first half, Oregon would make more plays the rest of the half, outscoring Arizona 18-10 to pull within two at halftime.
Needing cleaner play and another strong effort, Arizona would come out fighting in the second half as well, leading for much of the game.
Things would look promising, especially as Arizona would climb out to a 66-60 lead with 1:47 to play in the game after Zeke Nnaji made a jumper from about the elbow to give the Cats a nice little cushion.
But as we’re finding found out with this young team, it’s that no lead is ever safe.
Trailing by six, the Ducks would rally, seemingly hitting big shot after big shot, and outplaying Arizona on virtually every hustle play.
The Cats would have a chance to potentially ice this one, as Dylan Smith headed to the foul line with 1:28 to play, but after missing the front end of a one-and-one free throw, the door would be wide open.
Oregon would tie the game at 66-66 with 0:29, and luckily the Cats would have one more chance to end this one.
Burning most of the clock, Nnaji would have a chance to win this one with a similar shot to moments before, but a little contact by Oregon’s Payton Pritchard would alter the shot, sending this one to OT.
In overtime, it would be more of the same as both teams would seemingly trade shots back and forth.
Trailing by one with 0:17 to play, the Wildcats would have opportunities down the stretch to regain the lead, but they couldn’t do it as the team ultimately came up short in the 74-73 loss.
With the loss, Arizona drops to 11-4 (1-1), and still seems to lack that signature win of the season, losing their fourth game of the season by combined total of 13 points.
Following the game, head coach Sean Miller was disappointed in his teams’ loss, citing some mistakes and crucial calls that hurt his teams’ chances.
At Zona Zealots, we’re disappointed in the loss, and hope this team can once again rally quickly with a solid Oregon State team looming. As always, Bear Down, Arizona!