No. 19 Oregon solved its turnover problem – for one game at least – against Colorado, but still missed point guard Dominic Artis especially when the game was on the line.
Lacking a playmaker to create, Oregon coach Dana Altman was forced to put the ball in the hands of E.J. Singler in the final seconds and hope he could find a shot or an open teammate. The Buffaloes played stifling defense down the stretch in its 49-48 win and didn't allow either to happen. Oregon lost its third straight game. Colorado's 6-foot-6 point guard Spencer Dinwiddie guarded Singler down the stretch and his length bothered Singler enough to prevent him from getting off a decent attempt at a game winner.
The Ducks are now 1-3 since losing their point guard indefinitely to a left foot injury. They had their 20-game home-court winning streak snapped. It was the sixth longest active streak in the nation. And the Ducks fell out of first place in the Pac-12 Conference.
Artis had started the Ducks' first 19 games and led them to a 17-2 record, but since he took a seat on the bench nearly two weeks ago, Oregon has been a much different team. Scoring is down, in part, because Artis was the facilitator and in part because he is the best 3-pint shooter on the roster. He also helped his teammates be more patient with the offense.
Oregon was averaging 22 turnovers in its first three games without Artis, but managed to limit its miscues to 12 against the Buffs. It still didn't lead to a victory. The Ducks looked uncertain in the final minutes as Colorado fought back from a seven-point deficit to take its first lead.
The Buffs deserve credit for rebounding from a dreadful loss at Utah last weekend to upset a ranked opponent on the road where wins have been difficult to come for them. The victory should restore at least some of what it lost in its NCAA tournament resume when it lost to Utah.
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