Is there enough time to save these Ducks?
Oregon has its back against the wall following loss to Washington State.
EUGENE — The 7,617 who attended the Oregon men’s basketball game against Washington State Saturday saw N’Faly Dante block three shots, throw his 7-foot frame across the Matthew Knight Arena floor, charge coast-to-coast for a dunk at the first-half horn and repeatedly hurl those tree trunk arms of his into passing lanes faster than physics should allow. He had 15 points, 13 rebounds, four steals, three blocks and, in his ninth game of the season, played 34 of the game’s 40 minutes. He celebrated teammates’ 3s by stretching those limbs of his wide in the air, then implored them to keep fighting in the second half as the Cougars played cat-and-mouse with a lead that at one point fell to two but often sat comfortably with the Ducks behind.
He made most of his free throws.
In his fifth season with the Ducks, the former 5-star recruit from Mali is playing his position as well as any center Dana Altman has ever had. And again, the Ducks (16-8, 8-5 Pac-12) lost. This time it was 62-56, a loss that sent a good portion of the crowd home well before the final buzzer. It was Washington State’s first win in front of a crowd at Matthew Knight Arena, and one that gave Oregon’s NCAA Tournament at-large bid hopes a swift kick in the pants.