It was a close battle, but in the end, numbers don't lie: 22 turnovers for Oregon, 12 offensive rebounds for Cal. Regardless of Tony Wood's substantial performance (14 points, 8 rebounds) the Ducks return to Eugene with two back to back losses in Northern California.
With 16 seconds left in the first half, the Ducks, already down one point guard, nearly lost another.
Johnathan Loyd, in the midst of one of his most productive campaigns this year (with five points, five assists, two steals and three of Oregon's eleven turnovers), was fouled and hit the floor. Hard. A wave of pain rippled across his face as he held his wrist and walked towards the bench.
Tony Woods stepped in to take his free throws, and Duck fans held their breath. Without Dominic Artis, the team was already treading on thin ice. If Loyd were to sit out, serious panic would settle in. Instead, Loyd powered through the pain, emerging for the second half with his thumb wrapped. Though not entirely comfortable on the court, he played with hustle, grit and toughness to impress, regardless of the outcome. A++ for effort.
Today, the Ducks started off shaky, a bit disorganized, perhaps a tad lost.
With 7:22 to play in the half, Oregon led 16-13. There was lots of action, but little to show for it for either team.
Back-to-back slam dunks from Thurman and Crabbe gave Cal the lead 22-21 with 4:01 to go.
With 2:50 in the half, Cal had 8 points off turnovers.
Oregon had a 6-2 run at the end of the half to take a 27-24 lead into the locker room.
The second half showcased a very physical game. Oregon went on an 11-0 run, leading 50-42 with 6:30 on the clock.
The Bears answered with an 8-0 run of their own.
With 4:25 to go, Loyd made a great feed to Kazemi, who finished with a two-hand dunk, putting them up 52-48.
2:20 remaining, and a great sequence by Cal tied it up at 54-all.
Oregon took a time out. They needed a huge defensive stop. Instead, Justin Cobbs nailed a big jumper to put the Bears up 56-54.
And then,in as dramatic fashion as the last twenty seconds of the first half, a loss unfolded for the Ducks.
Oregon called a time out with 16 seconds remaining. Singler put up a three-ball that didn't go in. Woods went up to put it in and Richard Solomon blocked it. Woods put it back in, but in a controversial call, it didn't count (the whistle blew before he made the putback). Dana Altman was spitting fire at the referees.
Cal had the ball, Oregon fouled Cobbs (an 84% free throw shooter), who went to the line to put up two.
Game over for the Ducks, who now sit 7-2 in Pac-12 play.
They take on Colorado this Thursday at Matt Court.
OFFICIAL GAME NOTES
· --Oregon has lost 10 straight in the series to Cal.
· --Oregon has committed 20 or more turnovers in each of the last three games. Oregon has four games this season with at least 20 turnovers. The Ducks are 2-2 in games with 20 turnovers.
· --The Ducks have lost back-to-back games for the first time since losing to Arizona and Arizona State on March 3 and March 5 during the 2010-11 season.
· --Neither team led by more than four points until Damyean Dotson gave Oregon a six-point lead on a layup with 7:54 to play in the second half.
· --Oregon used an 11-0 run midway through the second half to build a 50-42 lead with 6:33 to play. The eight-point lead was the biggest of the game by either team.
· --Cal closed the game with a 10-0 run over the final 3:46 to claim the win.
· --Cal took 17 more shots during the game than Oregon, but made only one more.
· --Cal out-rebounded Oregon on the offensive glass 12-4.