Altman: I really enjoyed coaching these guys
MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Oregon senior center Waverly Austin, eyes red and wet, sat in the Ducks locker room with his head buried in a towel following the team's 85-77 loss to Wisconsin Saturday in the NCAA Tournament.
Senior guard Johnathan Loyd sat facing a wall with his head down.
Senior guard Jason Calliste warned reporters not come near him.
“Don’t cover over here,” he said. “That’s real.”
Clearly, he was really upset. And rightfully so.
The seven-seed Ducks had every chance in the world to upset No. 2 seeded Wisconsin in what was essentially a home game for the Badgers at the Bradley Center but came up short.
The loss ended Oregon's chances of making a return trip to the Sweet 16 and also marked the end of the college careers for seven players
Loyd, Mike Moser, Austin, Calliste and Richard Amardi were key contributors to the season. Nicholas Lucenti and junior Brian Crow also suited up for the last time with the Ducks.
“Any time you lose seniors you’re always worrying about replacing them,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said.
In this case, Oregon is saying goodbye to three transfer seniors, Moser, Calliste and Amardi, who spent just one season at Oregon.
Loyd, on the other hand, played his entire career at Oregon and leaves as the program's all-time winningest player. But he had one of the toughest games of his career on Saturday.
“I’m just mad, bro,” he said after the game. “I feel like I let the team down. That’s all I feel right now.”
Loyd shot 1-of-7 from the field and missed his only two free throw attempts. He finished with two points and one rebound. But he did have a team-high five assists.
“I didn’t make no shots,” he said. “I didn’t get any rebounds. I just didn’t play good at all.”
Moser scored seven quick points but then foul trouble limited his playing time to 22 minutes. He finished with 12 points and two rebounds.
Austin played eight minutes and had trouble defending Wisconsin big man Frank Kaminsky who had 19 points and five rebounds.
Calliste came off the bench and hit some big sots, going 4-of-5 from the field and making all 11 of his free throw attempts to finish with 20 points.
But when the game was out of reach late, he shoved a Wisconsin player to the floor.
“I’m disappointed in that,” Altman said. “He was frustrated there. But that’s obviously not the way we wanted to end the game. It’s not indicative of how he’s handled himself. He’s frustrated there. That was the end of his career.”
It’s the end of the career for many seniors and it was a short one at Oregon for some. But despite the disappointing end, for the most part, these seniors made a strong impact on the program.