“I think it shows a lot of resiliency. Obviously we got down in the second half and to show that resiliency to play and not quit was huge for us. It’s a big win against a good team,” said guard Casey Benson.
The Ducks led by 11 in the first half but never were able to put UCSB away as they closed the gap getting closer to half. Dillon Brooks came out motivated and led the Ducks with 10 first half points. The Ducks clung to a six point lead at the break after Dwayne Benjamin’s only shot caromed off.
The Gauchos came out firing in the second half, using a 14-2 run to flip a 6 point deficit to a 6 point lead. Oregon struggled in the first part of the second half as Michael Bryson hit three huge threes for Santa Barbara pushing the lead to as much as twelve. Jalil Abdul-Bassit responded however and tallied 8 straight of his own to bring the Ducks back into the game.
“The first five minutes of the second half changed the whole ball game. We gave them a lot of easy baskets and really turned the whole game around. We were very fortunate Jalil [Abdul-Bassit] gave us 8 in a row to get us back in the game,” said Head Coach Dana Altman.
Santa Barbara led by 4 points UCSB led by a single point with less than a minute remaining and the Ducks had the chance to take the game and sneak out of Matthew Knight with a win. Abdul-Bassit missed a jumper but the loose ball went off Bryson giving Oregon new life with 4.6 remaining. Joseph Young drove to the hoop and pulled up, his shot went awry but he found his way to the line with a chance to put Oregon over the top with 2 seconds. Young made one of two which sent the game to overtime.
“That was pretty shocking. Joe is pretty automatic from the line,” said Benson.
UCSB opened the extra frame with a three pointer, forcing the Ducks to play from behind again. Young missed his second free throw of the game and the Gauchos stretched the lead to four before Casey Benson responded with a three pointer. Abdul-Bassit would strike again, scoring the last seven points of the overtime period to turn a 3 point Gaucho lead into a 4 point Oregon win. Amidst that, Oregon had a two point lead but a steal by Benson would ice the game for the Ducks.
Oregon has one more contest before conference play starts. A game like this certainly shows the Ducks that they can compete in big moments and come away the victors. Oregon has not lost an overtime game since they lost in triple OT to UTEP in the 2012-13 season. Since then, the Ducks are 8-0 in overtime games.