Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Oregon men’s basketball team has gone to Colorado and lost. Despite Oregon being the better program since the Buffaloes joined the conference, the Ducks have yet to win in Boulder. This continued to be the case as Oregon opened conference play.
If you’ve been following, you knew this wasn’t going to be an easy game. Colorado was well-thought-of coming into the season. They have also been ranked this season and were sitting as the first team out of the polls in this week’s rankings. All of that resulted in a 74-65 loss.
Oregon Losing at Colorado Continues
Too Little, Too Late Offensively
Oregon was able to get the offense going late after Anthony Mathis hit the teams’ first three with over 12 minutes left. Yes, you read that right. The team didn’t make a single three-point attempt until almost 28 minutes into the game. In basketball in 2020 that’s not going to get it done.
Shakur Juiston was also able to get some things going in his first game back after missing five games with a leg injury.
All of that allowed Oregon to cut the Colorado lead to four points, but once the lead was there, the Buffaloes went on another run. A run that would prove to be just enough.
It was uncharacteristic to see the offense play the way they played most of the game given how good offensively they’ve been this season. However, if you’ve been following Oregon men’s basketball for any amount of time, you aren’t surprised to see it.
Too Many Defensive Lapses
Overall the defense was not the problem in the first half. The Ducks only had 22 points at the half, but they were only down six points.
However, the defensive lapses in the second half became too common.
Those lapses allowed the Buffaloes to build the lead all the way up to 15 before Oregon finally put a run together.
Once Oregon got back in the game, the defensive lapses allowed Colorado to put the game away.
When Oregon cut the lead to 57-53, McKinley Wright IV hit a big-time three, and Oregon never recovered.
The lapses included not communicating on screens and leaving three-point shooters wide open, not rotating fast enough and leaving shooters open, not handling the pick and roll correctly and allowing too much penetration, and then not getting back on defense.
Give Colorado credit. They took the ball out right after Oregon makes and didn’t allow the Ducks to set up their defense. It was something that Oregon clearly wasn’t prepared for and it made a big difference.
Oregon has had issues defensively at times this season, but those seemed to be fixed for the most part. This game was a big set back in that category.
Oregon Still Can’t Get a Win at Colorado: Overall Thoughts
In the grand scheme of things, this really isn’t a big deal. Yes, Oregon got to its highest ranking since 2016, but that’s all that really matters. Colorado is a good team this season. One of the best in the conference.
Also, it’s a place Oregon has never won. Even the team that went to the Final Four lost in Boulder, and Colorado wasn’t very good that season.
Of course, you would prefer to start conference play 1-0, but with 17 conference games still to play, one loss is nothing to overreact at.
Now it’s just important for this team to bounce back and put together a solid 40 minutes against Utah on Saturday.
Top Photo: Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports