MBB Recap: Ducks upset No. 9 Arizona with shocking 87-68 blowout

With that much talent, and one of the best coaches in the college basketball world, it makes sense that the Oregon Ducks were able to turn things around at some point in the 2022-23 season, doesn’t it?

I can’t say I expected them to turn things around against the No. 9 team in the nation, though. I will be completely honest about that.

Dana Altman’s Ducks shocked the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday afternoon in front of what turned out to be a raucous and rambunctious Matthew Knight Arena crowd. It featured the energy and effort that has been lacking in so many lackluster performances this season and gave Oregon it’s defining win of the season thus far.

An outlook that featured missed tournament bubbles and potentially another trip to the National Invitational Tournament now has experienced a shakeup. With a resume-building win like this on the record, Oregon should feel good about playing in March if they keep things rolling. If they play as well as they did on Saturday afternoon, then the Ducks shouldn’t feel crazy about entertaining the notion that a couple of weekends may be possible in the tournament.

It was a celebratory day for the Oregon program which has seen so many disappointments over the past month. Here’s how everything went down:

Final Score: Oregon 87, Arizona 68

The Oregon bench celebrates a three-pointer as the Oregon Ducks host the Arizona Wildcats Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore.
Ncaa Basketball Arizona At Oregon Men S Basketball

Keys to the game

  • Dana Altman shook things up before the game started against Arizona, making a change to the starting lineup. Both Quincy Guerrier and Brennan Rigsby were moved to the bench, while Nate Bittle and Jermaine Couisnard took their place.

  • The change to the lineup must have worked, because the Ducks played their best basketball of the season in the first half. Whether it was earth-shattering dunks from N’Faly Dante or steals in the full-court press, the Ducks were enthused and energetic, hanging with the Wildcats throughout the first 10 minutes.

  • Oregon eventually was able to take the lead and, thanks to some nice three-point shooting from Keeshawn Barthelemy and overall scoring from Jermaine Couisnard, the Ducks build a 7-point, 40-33 lead with 2:39 top play in the half.

  • The Ducks went into the half with a 43-37 lead over Arizona, with 27 of those points coming from Jermaine Couisnard and Dante.

  • Arizona hit a pair of threes right out of the gates in the second half to tie the game, but Oregon countered with a 10-0 run that gave them a 53-43 lead.

  • The Ducks kept their foot on the pedal throughout the second half, and was able to eventually build up the lead to 20 points. While Arizona often struggled to get shots to fall, Oregon pushed, and their energy on defense was enough to give them a blowout win at home over a top 10 team in the nation.

Players of the Game

(Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images)

  • Jermaine Couisnard: 27 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals

  • N’Faly Dante: 22 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, 3 steals

  • Will Richardson: 14 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals

  • Nate Bittle: 10 points, 4 rebounds

Key Stats to Know

(Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images)

  • The Ducks finished the game with 13 steals, turning 16 Arizona turnovers in 19 points.

  • Oregon won the total rebounding battle 42-32, and outscored Arizona by 10 points in the paint, 40-30.

  • N’Faly Dante had a game-leading plus/minus of +21, with Couisnard and Richardson right behind him at +17.

  • Combined, Dante, Richardson, and Couisnard went 24-for-40 from the field.

What's next?

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Ducks head back on the road for a weekend trip down to the Bay Area, starting with a game against the California Golden Bears on Wednesday evening. The Golden Bears have had a rough start to the season, going 3-14 in their first 17 games. If Oregon is going to have any hopes of keeping their postseason hopes alive, it is a must-win game.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire