Tyler Dorsey scored 23 points and went 6-for-6 from three as No. 13 Oregon humiliated No. 5 Arizona in Eugene on Saturday afternoon, 85-58.
That final score makes the game seem much closer than it actually was. Oregon was up 38-11 15 minutes into the game and 62-27 at one point in the second half. They threw more casual alley-oops than the Harlem Globetrotters. They made 16 of their first 21 threes. With five minutes left in the first half, Oregon had 10 assists to Arizona’s 11 points while the Wildcats had made five field goals and used three timeouts.
This was a mollywhopping in every sense of the word.
Here are the three things to know after this game:
1. Oregon at their best can beat anyone: Arizona is a top five team in the country. They were 21-2 entering Saturday. They were undefeated in Pac-12 play and had won a game in Pauley Pavilion. There was talk that the Wildcats were the best team in college basketball, so when we say that Oregon at their best can beat anyone in the country, this win proves it. It could very well have come against the best team in college basketball.
The most impressive part wasn’t the shooting. They finished the night 16-for-25 from three after missing their final four shots from beyond the arc, which is particularly impressive when you consider that Oregon was a team where we were worried about their perimeter shooting in November and December. But the thing about this win that stood out more than anything else was their defense. The Ducks are a top 20 defense and the best defensive team in the Pac-12, but they also got lit up by Arizona State’s guards on Thursday night.
Their back court is as talented as any back court in the country. This looked like a matchup that the Wildcats could exploit, except the exact opposite happened. The Wildcats had 18 points at the half and 27 points midway through the second half. They couldn’t do anything offensively, and while part of that was their own doing, much of the credit belongs to the Ducks.
2. Oregon moves into first place in the Pac-12: Well, a tie for first place.
Which is notable because a win for Arizona in this game would have all-but clinched the Pac-12 regular season title for the Wildcats. They would have held a two-game lead with seven games left, and the only matchup left on their schedule with one of the top three teams in the conference comes at home against UCLA. The Ducks play at UCLA.
Instead, the two teams are tied atop the standings today. Arizona is probably still the favorite to win it – that road trip to UCLA is not going to be easy – but the bottom line is that this is going to be a battle the rest of the way.
3. As for Arizona, s*** happens: That’s about all you can take away from this game. Oregon was just so unbelievably good and Arizona was such a trainwreck. The team that showed up in Eugene for Sean Miller is not the team that Arizona has been all season long.
It’s just one of those things that happens in college basketball.
If there is a concern here, it’s that Arizona never had a response. They got punched in mouth and never fought back, instead choosing to sit there and take blow after blow after on the chin. That’s worrisome, and it’s worth wondering whether that’s an issue of leadership or just part of the deal when it comes to relying on three freshmen and a sophomore as heavily as Arizona does.
The bottom line for Arizona is this: There is no shame in losing at Oregon. They weren’t supposed to. The Ducks are good, and they have the nation’s longest home-court winning streak at 40 games. They will be just fine as long as they don’t let this loss have a hangover effect.