Oregon Ducks can breathe again after Pac-12 Tournament nail-biter against UCLA

Oregon's quarterfinal game against UCLA came down to the final seconds but the Ducks walked away with bragging rights and a ticket to the semifinals.

Mar 14, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA.
Mar 14, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

At halftime of the Ducks’ 2024 Pac-12 Tournament opener, Oregon was trailing UCLA by five points. Head coach Dana Altman said they needed to lock down on defense, improve their rebounding, and get the ball to center N’Faly Dante to win.

The Ducks did just that.

After Dante was held to just nine points in the first half, he exploded offensively in the last 20 minutes. Scoring 13 points in the second half, the senior Duck led his team to a quarterfinal victory over the Bruins.

The score seesawed back and forth throughout the second half of the game as Oregon finally took the lead but let it slip a few times as the Bruins would go on runs.

UCLA guard Dylan Andrews racked up 24 points throughout the game to keep the Bruins within reach of the Ducks’ score.

Oregon scored 39 points and allowed UCLA to add on just 32 points in the second half.

After the game, freshman guard Jackson Shelstad, who had 12 points in his first postseason game for the Ducks, shared that whoever the toughest team out there was who was going to win.

At the end of 40 minutes, Oregon was the tougher team. They outworked and outplayed the Bruins when it came down to the final minutes and that is what mattered at the end of the game.

"We were fortunate," Altman said after the game. "Jermaine has been our heart and soul all year. He and Dante... those two, I've got nothing to complain about."

Senior guard Jermaine Couisnard contributed 10 points and 7 rebounds to the Ducks’ stat line but was battling through obvious shoulder pain throughout the second half.

There has been no official report of Couisnard’s possible injury so Oregon fans will simply have to hope that he’s available for the Ducks' upcoming game.

Oregon will face the Arizona Wildcats on March 15 at 5 p.m. CT. Arizona is the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament and is currently ranked No. 6 in the country.

The Ducks and Wildcats are scheduled to play in the first of the two semifinal games.

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