Oregon basketball found some redemption against Colorado on Thursday night with a 75-69 win. They did it without center N’Faly Dante who sat out the game with a tweaked knee.
Entering the second half of the season, Oregon is likely playing for an NIT bid following a roller-coaster first half of the year. Head Coach Dana Altman had had a lot on his plate to deal with, probably more this season than in the past. Injuries have plagued a team with a lot of talent. Oregon has won games they should have lost and lost games they should have won.
The game on Thursday night against Colorado is a game they should have won and did. The margin was six points.
Altman watched his team does just enough for the victory. The final two Colorado shots in the closing seconds were three-pointers that were missed. The Buffs had an offensive rebound between both shots that if made, could have tied the game. For Altman and the Ducks, they will take the win.
N’Faly Dante missed the game after tweaking his knee during warmups, but Nate Bittle stepped up and had the best game of his young career finishing with 11 points and 13 rebounds for his first double-double. His work this season in practice and in the weight room is now showing on the floor when the team needed him the most.
So far this season, the Pac-12 Conference has been one of the most exciting in college basketball. With USC beating UCLA on Thursday night, Oregon is just two games out of first place and can make a move up the standings with wins as most of the teams they face over the next month are ahead of them in the standings. If the team is going to go on one of those Dana Altman winning runs we are all used to, it needs to start now.
Oregon hosts Utah before traveling to Arizona and Arizona State next week. The Ducks and Utes tipoff from Matthew Knight Arena on Saturday at 5 pm Pacific Time.
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