The opening game of two straight Pac-12 home weekends have ended with a similar look and sound for Oregon.
“Gut-wrenching,” UO coach Dana Altman said after losses to both UCLA and Washington.
Oregon lost a nine-point lead in the final minute of an 87-84 overtime loss to the Bruins on Jan. 10. Two weeks later, the Ducks appeared to be headed into overtime at worst against the Huskies when junior point guard Payton Pritchard had the ball in the final 10 seconds of a tie game before he had a turnover and committed a foul 35 feet from the basket with 1.6 seconds remaining on Jaylen Nowell, who made three free throws in a 61-56 win for UW.
Altman had another similar comment following both defeats.
“I definitely think we need the two days off,” he repeated.
Oregon followed the loss to UCLA with a 81-60 victory over USC three days later. The Ducks (11-8, 2-4) have two days off again before hosting Washington State (8-11, 1-5) at 5 p.m. Sunday.
“Go back to the lab and get ready for the next game,” said Oregon freshman Louis King, who had a team-high 19 points against UW. “Get back in the gym and work on all we need to work on.”
There is plenty for Oregon to work on after shooting 46.7 percent from the field while allowing the Huskies to shoot 55.0 percent in each half. The Ducks had 19 turnovers compared to 11 assists while UW had 18 assists with 19 turnovers.
“Offensively, we were just straight up,” Altman said. “(Nineteen) turnovers, we worked our tails off to turn them over and we were even on turnover points. Our turnovers were just straight up and down. We weren’t very aggressive offensively.”
Washington had a 15-5 edge in fast-break points.
“The problem really was transition, easy baskets,” Altman said. “They got 15 transition points and a bunch of those were easy baskets so that is going to kill your (defensive) shooting percentage right there.”
Oregon has led in the final 10 minutes of each conference game, but lost four of them by an average of 6.7 points.
“Teams are going to find a way to wiggle their way back in,” Oregon senior forward Paul White said. “It is a game of runs. We went on our run and Washington pulled it together the last two minutes so things ended up on their side. Sometimes, that is how it happens. We need to keep our head up and try to learn from it. Learn how to close these games out.”
Oregon fell into a tie for eighth place in the conference as its at-large hopes for the NCAA Tournament have likely faded away, but a home loss to the 11th-place Cougars would be a major setback heading into a road trip at Utah and Colorado.
“Moments like this, we need to come together because there are going to be outsiders who say what they want to say,” White said. “That’s when a family gets stronger.”