Oregon would have moved into a tie for fourth place in the Pac-12 with a win at Oregon State on Saturday, but instead fell to eighth with a 72-57 loss against the Beavers.
The Ducks had an opportunity to move into sole possession of fifth place in the conference with a win at USC on Thursday, but a 66-49 loss to the Trojans dropped the Ducks into ninth place.
There has been little separation between second and 10th place in the Pac-12 this season, but back-to-back lopsided losses now have the Ducks near the bottom of that list.
“We have had opportunities that we haven’t been able to take advantage of,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “We have just got to play better. Offensively, we have got to finish plays and hit some shots.”
That has been a problem particularly on the road in conference games where the Ducks have made one-third or fewer of their shots in three losses including an 18-for-54 performance against the Trojans.
“We had a lot of good looks and we missed them and then we started pressing,” Altman said. “The first two possessions, Payton (Pritchard) and Will (Richardson) missed open 3-pointers to start the game. We had a lot of good looks. … We missed shots in transition. In the first half we were 1-for-6 including a couple layups. We just didn’t finish.”
Oregon’s 33.3 percent shooting against the Trojans matched its second-worst percentage of the season when it went 21-for-63 in a 78-64 loss at Arizona State on Jan. 19. The Ducks shot 31.0 percent in a 73-51 loss at Colorado on Feb. 2.
“We are having trouble scoring, no doubt about it,” Altman said. “Whether it was man-to-man against Colorado, a mixture (at Arizona State) or zone (against USC).”
Oregon (15-11, 6-7) is 2-4 on the road in Pac-12 play with an average margin of defeat of 17 points as it heads to UCLA (14-13, 7-7) Saturday night at 7 p.m. The Ducks are two games out of third place in the conference with five games left in the regular season.
Altman scheduled a light workout for Friday as the Ducks try to avoid being swept in L.A. for the second year in a row.
“We just have to go play and we have got to play a lot better,” Altman said. “We will try to show them some things, some good shots they just have to step into and hit. We will show them some of the good looks we had, but we just have to do a better job.”
The Ducks have shot below 41 percent in seven of nine true road games this season. Altman acknowledged that his team may be struggling with confidence after shooting below 45 percent during each of the past three games.
“A couple games now where we have not shot it very well at all so I’m sure that has entered into it,” he said.
Louis King had two fingers wrapped on his shooting hand after being injured at Oregon State, but had the top shooting percentage of any Duck by making 6-of-13 shots from the field. Kenny Wooten played for the first time without a mask since returning from a broken jaw and went 1-for-3 against the Trojans.
“They had some good minutes,” Altman said. “I don’t think that affected them. We are just having trouble scoring.”
UCLA defeated Oregon 87-84 in overtime last month after rallying from a 17-point deficit in the final seven minutes of regulation.
“From start to finish, up 20 or down 20, we learned that we have got to finish,” Oregon guard Victor Bailey said.