After racking up victories against mostly inferior opponents, Oregon finally got a signature win.
Led by the all-around efforts of senior E.J. Singler and some early resiliency, the Ducks handed No. 4 Arizona its first loss of the season with a 70-66 victory Thursday night in Eugene, Ore.
Singler had 14 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals for Oregon (13-2, 2-0 Pac-12), which overcame an 11-0 deficit to lead for the final 27:32. The Ducks ran their home winning streak to 17 games, including 11 this season.
“I think we’ve been playing really well the whole season,” Singler said. “I think we’re a really good team. This game really showed our team we can compete with a lot of different people.”
Dominic Artis, Carlos Emory and Tony Woods had 10 points apiece for Oregon.
Mark Lyons scored 21 and Solomon Hill added 16 points to lead the Wildcats (14-1, 2-1), who entered as one of three undefeated teams in the country.
“We obviously want to win every game, but we know it’s not a perfect world,” Arizona guard Nick Johnson said. “It definitely hurts because we know we let one slip away with our defense and our execution and stuff like that.”
Trailing 67-55 with under 3 minutes to play, the Wildcats mounted a final rally.
Lyons made a 3-pointer, Johnson followed with a layup and Lyons drained another 3 while falling backward to cut it to 67-63 with 1:18 to go.
Free throws by Singler and another 3-pointer by Johnson made it 69-66 with 50 seconds left.
Artis missed a shot late in the Ducks’ ensuing possession and Johnson was making his way up the court when Johnathan Loyd caught him from behind and stole the ball with 10 seconds left.
Loyd was fouled and made one of two free throws to seal it.
“We didn’t play as smart as we wanted to,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “They’re a team that’s won 14; you could see their confidence even when they were down late.”
It was the Ducks’ second win against a ranked team this season. They beat No. 24 UNLV in November. Their only losses are to No. 21 Cincinnati and in triple overtime at UTEP.
While Altman said the win could be the biggest in his three seasons at Oregon, he also said there should be better wins ahead.
“If January 10 is our high, then this team has really underachieved,” Altman said. “This team has a lot more. I’ll be disappointed if we don’t have bigger wins this season.”
It appeared to be going the Wildcats’ way when they jumped out to an 11-0 lead. But it was all Oregon from there, as the Ducks outscored Arizona 41-19 the rest of the first half.
The Ducks led 63-52 with 6:46 left in the game when Singler made a 3. That was the Ducks’ last field goal of the game. They held off Arizona’s final rally by going 7 for 9 from the free-throw line.
Colorado 66, USC 60: Josh Scott scored 14 points and Askia Booker added 12 to help the Buffalos (11-4, 1-2) snap a two-game skid by holding off the Trojans (6-10, 1-2) at Boulder, Colo.
The Buffaloes ran their home record to 7-0 this season and kept the Trojans searching for that elusive road win. USC has now dropped 14 straight away from the Galen Center.
Andre Roberson, one of the top rebounders in the nation, didn’t start for the first time in 49 games. Colorado coach Tad Boyle declined to give a reason for Roberson’s benching before the game, but said he would address the situation later.
UCLA 57, Utah 53: Larry Drew II scored 12 points, including a driving layup to beat the shot clock with 9 seconds remaining, and the Bruins (13-3, 3-0) held off the Utes (8-7, 0-3) in Salt Lake City for their eight straight victory.
The Utes, who were led by Cedric Martin’s 12 points, had two chances to take the lead in the final minutes, but Glen Dean missed wide-open 3-point attempts.
Playing in front of an enthusiastic crowd that trudged through a major snowstorm, the Utes dropped their third straight.
Arizona State 72, Oregon State 62: Carrick Felix had 18 points and 14 rebounds and the Sun Devils (14-2, 3-0) held off a late Beavers (10-5, 0-2) comeback for a victory at Corvallis, Ore.
Oregon State’s Ahmad Starks hit a short jumper with 6:58 remaining to cap a 7-0 run to close within 55-51. Arizona State came back to go up 65-55 with 1:42 left. Oregon State got no closer than eight from there.