EUGENE – Just 11 days ago, Oregon was riding a seven-game winning streak and had broken into the top 10 in the Associated Press poll for the team’s highest ranking since late 2007.
Since then, the high-flying Ducks have come back to earth.
Nineteenth-ranked Oregon (18-5, 7-3 Pac-12) was dealt its third straight loss on Thursday night. Colorado (15-7, 5-5) scored the final eight points of the game for a 48-47 upset, the Buffaloes’ first victory in Eugene since 1955.
The loss snapped Oregon’s 20-game winning streak at home, the third-longest in school history.
It also dropped the Ducks out of first place in the Pac-12 standings. Oregon now rests in a tangle for second with Arizona State (18-5, 7-3) and UCLA (17-6, 7-3) behind No. 7 Arizona (20-2, 8-2).
“We cannot have these losses weigh us down,” Ducks senior forward E.J. Singler. “We have to keep playing and get back into a momentum.”
The Ducks climbed to No. 10 in the polls after winning all but two of their nonconference games and opening Pac-12 play with seven straight wins. It was Oregon’s best league start in 87 years.
Oregon’s raucous student section, known as the Pit Crew, would chant “Just Like Football!” at opponents.
Included in the streak were a pair of victories over ranked teams: a 77-66 win at home over the then-No. 4 Wildcats and a 76-67 win over the then-No. 24 Bruins at Pauley Pavilion.
But last week Oregon embarked on a Bay Area series against unranked Stanford and California. The Cardinal downed the Ducks 76-52 before the Golden Bears won 58-54.
The return home to Matthew Knight Arena was supposed to bring the Ducks some relief. But the Buffaloes hung tough. Singler had a chance to win it for Oregon but his long jumper was tipped by Spencer Dinwiddie and fell into the hands of Colorado’s Andre Roberson under the basket with 1.1 seconds left.
Oregon next hosts Utah tonight. The Utes (10-12, 2-8) are coming off an 82-64 loss to Oregon State (12-11, 2-8) on Wednesday night.
“Our guys have worked awfully hard, and in the past week we’ve given a lot back. Five o’clock on Saturday, we’ll have to turn it around,” coach Dana Altman said.