To know how good the Oregon basketball team can be, you could have watched its 13-0 start to the season, a run that saw the Ducks climb their way to a No. 10 ranking.
To see how bad Oregon can be, just rewatch the last four minutes of Thursday’s 67-65 loss at No. 2 Arizona on Thursday night at McKale Center.
In what has become a major concern for the once-surging Ducks, the feathers came off down the stretch once more, cohesion and offensive flow sorely lacking.
Even when Oregon managed a good look, the ball went awry: The Ducks missed 3 of 4 free throws in the last minute and committed two turnovers in the final two minutes.
“We’ve got to make the simple plays at the end,” said Oregon’s Joseph Young, who had 14 second-half points but committed a turnover and missed a bad three-point shot. “One of the jumpers I took at the end, I didn’t need to take. It was just the moment, I was feeling the heat check. Down the end, we know we need to execute and make better plays.”
Arizona may have lost Brandon Ashley from its starting lineup, but the fans certainly didn’t lose him from their hearts.
Ashley, who suffered a broken foot in the Wildcats’ 60-57 loss at Cal last Saturday, hobbled out to the McKale Center court to watch his teammates warm up Thursday. The fans saw him and chanted his name until he waved his crutches to acknowledge the love.
It seems Arizona fans are not about to let the Oregon football team forget what happened this season.
A student in the Zona Zoo hoisted a “Just Like Football” poster to commemorate the Wildcats’ 42-16 win over the then-No. 5 Ducks at Arizona Stadium. The win, Arizona’s biggest in recent memory, prompted fans to rush the field.
That wasn’t the only poster on a particularly chirpy night.
Arizona fans also held “It’s Duck Hunting Time” and “Have Fun in the NIT” signs, while a pair of fans in chef hats sported a “Tonight’s menu: Roasted Duck” poster.
That doesn’t include all the rubber chickens in the crowd.
Former Arizona second-team All-America center fielder Kevin Long was honored on the video board on Thursday night. Long has served as the hitting coach for the New York Yankees since 2007, winning a 2009 World Series title in pinstripes. Long remains near the top of Wildcat annals in several single-season categories, including extra-base hits (third, 41), doubles (seventh, 23), multi-hit games (eighth, 30), total bases (ninth, 162) and runs (ninth, 80).
The Big Number
2 for 17 Arizona may not have had such trouble against the Ducks on Thursday if not for a horrible shooting stretch midway through the game. After the Wildcats started the game 11 for 21, they went on a 2-for-17 funk that nearly cost them the win.
Tweet of the Night
“Foul trouble. Ice-cold shooting. Less intimidating defense. Everything Arizona misses without Brandon Ashley is on display so far tonight.” – Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Eisenberg (@JeffEisenberg)