Loyd Steals Show, Ducks Win
The Oregon Ducks (22-6, 11-4 Pac-12) faced off against the Stanford Cardinal (16-12, 7-8 Pac-12) Saturday in Mathew Knight Arena in front of a sellout crowd. The Ducks won the game 77-66.
The game was decided in the second half, when Jonathan Loyd was able to spark his team, helping them pull away from the Cardinal. “It felt great, I needed it,” said Loyd when asked how his performance made him feel. “My teammates have been putting faith in me, telling me they believe in me and trust me. They know I can do it, so I just stepped up.”
Loyd has struggled in recent games, but was able to find his rhythm tonight, recording 15 points to go along with nine assists. Coach Dana Altman was happy with his junior point guard’s performance. “There is no one that cares about our team more than Jonny. He’s got a positive outlook, and I am just really happy for him.”
The Ducks came into the game reeling after a tough loss to California on Thursday. The defeat came on a last-second jumper with 0.7 seconds left in the game. The night was marked by poor shooting from both teams. The lone bright spot in the loss was senior forward Arsalan Kazemi who had 11 pts and 18 reb.
Kazemi was able to carry that momentum into tonight’s game. In the first half, he kept the Ducks in the game scoring six points and grabbing five rebounds. Kazemi ended the game with 15 points, seven rebounds and five steals.
The Ducks and Cardinal have already played once this year. In their first game in Maples Pavilion, the Cardinals completely dominated the game, defeating Oregon 76-52. Tonight was a much different story.
The start of the game was a track meet as both teams looked to run the ball and get out in transition.
The Ducks knew a key was trying to contain the Cardinal down low. Stanford is led by junior forward Dwight Powell, who is averaging 15.4 pts and 8.4 reb a game. He has been a force all season long, crashing the boards and playing tough defense. The Ducks were aware of this coming into the game, and worked hard to stop him early.
Though they kept him from scoring in the paint in the first, Powell made his mark elsewhere. He was able to stretch the court and draw the Oregon posts away from the basket. This opened up lanes for his teammates and gave Powell easy looks at the basket from mid-range Powell ended the first with 12 points.
For most of the first half, the game remained close as neither team could pull away from the other. With 2:17 left on the clock Loyd knocked down a big three, putting the Ducks up 26-24. This was followed by Kazemi drawing a charge against Stanford and then throwing down a monster dunk off a beautiful pass by Loyd.
Stanford was able to counter by capitalizing from the free throw line as they did for most of the first half. Stanford ended the first going 6-7 from the line. They ended the game going 22-27.
Oregon was able to end the first ahead, up 30-26. A key was holding Stanford to 34.6% from the field.
Tony Woods scored the first points of the second half on a tip-in after a miss by E.J. Singler. Later, Woods was able to get Powell into foul trouble, causing him to pick up his fourth with over 18 minutes left in the game.
With Powell out of the game, Oregon was able to open things up and build their lead. This forced Stanford coach Jonny Dawkins to put the big man back in despite his foul trouble.
Loyd was the player of the game for the Ducks, running the offense and bringing energy to the court. His play seemed to inspire his teammates and the crowd. One such moment came at the 10:30 mark, when Loyd picked off an errant Cardinal pass, taking it the length of the court to finish with a tough lay-up. This led to coach Dawkins becoming frustrated, ultimately ending with him being assessed a technical by the refs.
In the end, the Ducks were just too much for the Cardinal to handle. Oregon ended the game shooting 48.4% from the field. They also were able to force Stanford to commit 17 turnovers.
Tonight’s win marked the 600th of coach Altman’s career. When asked about the milestone, coach Altman deflected the attention away from himself, instead focusing on all the players who have helped him achieve the mark.
With the victory, Oregon remains tied for first place in the Pac-12 with Arizona. Oregon will look to build on tonight’s effort next week when they take on rival Oregon State at home.
Since losing starting freshman Dominic Artis, the Ducks have stumbled into a 4-4 record, without facing a single ranked opponent. … During a timeout Oregon unveiled a banner commemorating the 1939 NCAA Championship team. … The national anthem was sung by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.
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