Ducks drop a heartbreaker at Arizona

If something were certain in basketball it would be that a team should never expect a call on the road. What is also true, is that road teams can not go through scoreless streaks, poor free throw shooting and poor clock management. The Oregon Ducks (10-14, 4-8) dropped a tough loss to the Arizona Wildcats 70-68. In the closing seconds of the match-up an apparent shove against Aaron Brooks was not called as he drove to the basket that could have given Oregon a chance to win.

(PHOTO) Oregon's Chamberlain Oguchi (25) drives to the basket around Arizona's Hassan Adams (21) during the first half of a college basketball game in Tucson, Ariz., Thursday, Feb. 9, 2006. (AP Photo/ Wily Low)

The game was one of the most exciting road contests that Duck fans could possibly want. Despite a scoreless streak that lasted for nearly eight minutes in the first half, the Ducks managed to stay in the game and remained within striking distance mainly due to some hot shooting by Chamberlain Oguchi. Oguchi lit up the nets for 21 points on a 7-for-17 shooting night including six 3-pointers. Oguchi was hitting the deep ball just when the Ducks needed it the most and kept Oregon close particularly in the second half.

Oregon trailed Arizona at halftime 37-27 and that score was rather remarkable considering how the Ducks gave up 16 straight points early in the game. This trend of going into shooting slumps has plagued the Ducks all season long, but Oguchi's shooting kept the Ducks afloat. Oregon was again hampered again by cold free throw shooting, only managing to connect on 5-of-11 free throws all game.

In the second half, Oguchi continued his timely shooting touch and aided by a tough man-to-man defense, Oregon eventually cut the lead. The Ducks went ahead in the contest at one point by 5 with less than a minute to go in the game. However, in the last minute, Arizona took advantage of a poor inbound pass that turned the ball over to the Wildcats and then later some physical contact against Brandon Lincoln in the backcourt that was not called. Trailing 68-67 and the shot clock turned off, Lincoln attempted to gain control of the ball and it appeared he was hacked several times. However no call was made and Lincoln's pass to Aaron Brooks went out of bounds for a turn over. After the ball was inbound, Mustafa Shakur drove to the basket and was fouled by Jordan Kent. Shakur sank both free throws giving the Wildcats a 69-68 lead.

Arizona called timeout to set their defense and when the ball was inbound with about 9 seconds left in the game, Brooks headed up court. He saw an opening to the basket and appeared to be shoved from behind but again no call was made. Brooks found himself under the basket, with no one to pass to and unable to get off a shot. He was called for traveling.

The ball was inbound off the turnover and Ivan Radenovic was immediately fouled. Radenovic had a 1-and-1 free throw shooting opportunity. He made the first free throw making the score 70-68 and Oregon called timeout. When time resumed, Radenovic missed the second attempt and the Ducks scrambled to get the down court with only 3 seconds remaining. Brooks tried a desperation mid-court shot that was off the mark and the game was over.

Four Wildcats scored in double-figures led by center Kirk Walters' 18 points. Redenovic contributed 15 while Hassan Adams had 14 and Shakur ended up with 10.

Malik Hairston was the only other Duck to score in double-figures besides Oguchi. Hairston finished with 11.

For the game the Ducks shot 44.8 percent on 26-of-58 including 11-of-28 outside the 3-point line. Arizona was 27-of-54 in field goal shooting including 2-of-6 in 3-pointers. The Wildcats were 14-of-22 in free throw shooting.

Oregon did not get any breaks from the referees but that should always be expected on a road trip. The Ducks played well overall in this game especially defensively, but the problems that have faced Oregon all season long cropped up again. Extended minutes without scoring, the poor results from the free throw line and another case of having enough time left in the game to set up some sort of good shooting opportunity only to have the ball turned away without even attempting a shot spelled doom for the Ducks.

Oregon will take the approximate two hour drive to Tempe on Saturday to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils at 5 p.m. The Oregon Sports Network will televise the game.

Subscribers to eDuck.com can follow the action in Game Chat starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.

Official Box Score from www.goducks.com

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