EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon nailed five three-pointers in the final 11 minutes and put a sting on the end of Arizona Wildcats’ memorable regular season, handing the Wildcats a 64-57 loss today at Matthew Knight Arena.
The loss, Arizona’s first since ASU beat the Wildcats in double overtime on Feb. 14, wound up the Wildcats’ regular season at 28-3 and 15-3 in the Pac-12. Even with the loss, the 15-3 mark was the best the Wildcats have finished with in Pac-12 play since 200-01, when they were NCAA runners-up.
Arizona had four teams go 17-1 in the Pac-10 and two that went 15-3, in 1999-2000 and 2000-01
Oregon finished at 22-8 and 10-8, all but having clinched an NCAA tournament berth.
Arizona led most of the game and jumped out to a 44-36 lead with 13:24 left in the second half, but three-pointers from Mike Moser and Jason Calliste pulled the Ducks within two. The Ducks later had a three from Joseph Young and layup from Johnathan Loyd to tie it up at 50 with five minutes to go.
Then, just as the sold-out Matthew Knight Arena really started rolling, Jason Calliste hit a 19-footer while drawing a foul from UA’s Kaleb Tarczewski, and made the ensuring free throw to give Oregon a 54-51 lead, its first since the first 1:20 of the game.
Subsquent threes from Calliste and Johnathan Loyd put Oregon up 59-51 with 2:32 left and the Ducks hung on from there. Oregon’s Ben Carter blocked a shot from UA’s Nick Johnson with 32 seconds left and the Ducks up 59-54.
In the first half, Arizona committed nine turnovers, four in its final five first-half possessions, to nearly spoil their early success today.
The Wildcats led the Ducks by up to 12 points in the first half but held just a 31-29 halftime lead despite shooting 48 percent and outrebounding the Ducks by eight.
A three-pointer from Calliste with nine seconds left cut Arizona's lead to two points although the Ducks shot just 37.5 percent overall.
Against Oregon’s weaker frontcourt, the Wildcats looked to pound the ball inside to center Kaleb Tarczewski and it paid off. He had 10 points after the first 16 minutes, hitting 4 of 6 field goals and making 2 of 4 free throws.
Oregon charged out in front of its only sellout crowd of the year, getting an initial hook shot from Waverly Austin on their first possession, but the Wildcats quickly silenced Matthew Knight Arena.
Arizona took an early 9-4 lead after forcing three early Oregon turnovers, while keeping the Ducks to just 2 of 6 shooting at that point. While the Ducks cut Arizona’s lead to 13-8 after six minutes, the Wildcats came back with a 9-0 run to go up 20-11 on a fast-break dunk from Johnson.