Oregon has had a rough go of it this season. The Ducks opened the year a top-20 team, but already has losses to fringe-NCAA tournament teams like Iowa and Baylor. Then there was the home loss to rival Oregon State last week, and of course that loss to Texas Southern in November. Their star recruit, Bol Bol, has also been lost for the year with injury.
So, the Ducks could use a win.
It didn’t happen Thursday, and in particularly painful fashion.
Oregon blew a late lead against UCLA, culminating in a fouling-up-three-late gone wrong in regulation and then an overtime 87-84 loss to the Bruins, who aren’t yet a month removed from losses to Belmont and Liberty, in Eugene.
The Ducks led by as many as 17 points in the second half, but saw that cut to three with just over 3 seconds to play. That led to Dana Altman calling for his team to foul, preventing UCLA from getting a chance to put up a game-tying 3.
Jaylen Hands went to the line, made the first and intentionally missed the second. Well, instead of collecting the rebound and putting the game away, well, the Ducks let UCLA’s Chris Smith slide in to get the rebound, a bucket AND get fouled to get a chance to win the game with 0.7 seconds left.
There are only so many ways that fouling up three can backfire on you, and, well, this is among the worst-case scenarios.
Smith missed the free throw so Oregon had chance to pretend like none of this happened, but, nope, the Ducks got outscored 7-4 in the extra five minutes to lose for the third time in four games.
The horror that is the Pac-12 was on display for all of this, but the thing is, sometimes being bad can be so good – for the rest of us watching, at least.