Oregon’s offense continues to unravel without the services of its starting point guard, and the team’s lead in the Pac-12 standings is gone.
The 23rd-ranked Ducks will try to bounce back Saturday when they host Stanford, which has won three of its past four road games. The Cardinal also handed Oregon its worst loss in two seasons with a 76-52 home victory Jan. 30.
Oregon’s 48-46 loss to visiting California on Thursday - decided by a jumper with 0.7 seconds left - dropped the team into a tie for first place with Arizona. The point total was the Ducks’ lowest since 2010, and they recorded their worst field-goal percentage (27.6) since shooting 26.0 percent against Washington State on March 11, 2009.
Point guard Dominic Artis missed his eighth straight game with a foot injury and there is still no timetable for his return. Without the freshman - Oregon’s fourth-leading scorer at 10.2 points per game and top assist man with 3.8 - the team has gone 4-4 without facing a single ranked opponent.
The Ducks (21-6, 10-4) averaged 75.9 points on 46.0 percent shooting along with 14.7 assists in 19 games with Artis. Since his injury, they’re averaging 62.1 points while shooting 41.5 percent, and their assist average has dipped to 9.8.
Oregon has seen an obvious drop-off at the point guard position, with junior Johnathan Loyd averaging 4.9 points on 25.5 percent shooting while starting all eight games Artis has missed. Loyd is 4 for 23 (17.4 percent) from 3-point range in that stretch, far worse than Artis’ 35.1 percent mark on the season.
Without Artis, the Ducks have been held to fewer than 60 points four times, something that had happened just once before.
Leading scorer E.J. Singler (11.6 ppg) continues to be inconsistent, scoring nine points or fewer in four of the past eight while getting at least 14 in each of the other four contests. Singler was 1 of 12 from the floor against Cal, finishing with seven points.
“It hurts,” Singler said. “I thought our whole team played really hard so it was horrible to lose this way. They played good defense, but we didn’t hit shots tonight collectively, especially me. We gotta get better.”
Stanford (16-11, 7-7) held each Oregon starter below eight points in the first meeting as the Ducks shot 34.6 percent and had 20 turnovers along with a season-low four assists. Loyd had no points and no assists in 23 minutes.
The Cardinal, meanwhile, have reached the 80-point mark four times in their last eight contests, and Josh Huestis has been a major factor in the paint. The junior forward is averaging 14.9 points on 58.0 percent shooting with 10.5 rebounds in that stretch, posting six of his eight double-doubles.
Huestis, who averaged 8.8 points on 41.4 percent shooting in the first 19 games, had 20 points and 11 boards in an 82-72 win at Oregon State on Thursday.
“Josh is having a terrific season,” coach Johnny Dawkins said. “Every night I keep raising the expectations for him higher and higher and he keeps meeting them or exceeding them. He just comes out to play every night.”
Huestis had 14 points and 13 rebounds against Oregon last month, and Dwight Powell also had a double-double with 12 points and 13 boards.