EUGENE, Ore. — After racking up victories against mostly inferior opponents, Oregon finally got a signature win.
Led by the all-around efforts of senior E.J. Singler and some early resiliency, the Ducks handed No. 4 Arizona its first loss of the season with a 70-66 victory Thursday night.
Singler had 14 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals for Oregon (13-2, 2-0 Pac-12), which overcame an 11-0 deficit to lead for the final 27:32. The Ducks ran their home winning streak to 17 games, including all 11 this season.
“I think we’ve been playing really well the whole season,” Singler said. “I think we’re a really good team. This game really showed our team we can compete with a lot of different people.”
Dominic Artis, Carlos Emory and Tony Woods had 10 points apiece for Oregon.
Mark Lyons scored 21 and Solomon Hill added 16 points to lead the Wildcats (14-1, 2-1), who entered as one of three undefeated teams in the country.
“We obviously want to win every game, but we know it’s not a perfect world,” Nick Johnson said. “It definitely hurts because we know we let one slip away with our defense and our execution and stuff like that.”
The Wildcats didn’t go quietly. Trailing 67-55 with under 3 minutes to play, Arizona mounted one last rally.
Lyons made a 3-pointer, Johnson followed with a layup and Lyons drained another 3 while falling backward to cut it to 67-63 with 1:18 to go.
Free throws by Singler and another 3-pointer by Johnson made it 69-66 with 50 seconds left.
Artis missed a shot late in the Ducks’ ensuing possession and Johnson was making his way up the court when Johnathan Loyd caught him from behind and stole the ball with 10 seconds left.
Loyd was fouled and made one of two free throws to seal it.
“We didn’t play as smart as we wanted to,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “They’re a team that’s won 14; you could see their confidence even when they were down late.”
It was the Ducks’ second win against a ranked team this season. They beat No. 24 UNLV in November. Their only losses are to No. 21 Cincinnati and in triple overtime at UTEP.
While Altman said the win could be the biggest in his three seasons at Oregon, he also said there should be better wins ahead.
“If January 10 is our high, then this team has really underachieved,” Altman said. “This team has a lot more. I’ll be disappointed if we don’t have bigger wins this season.”
It appeared to be going the Wildcats’ way when they jumped out to an 11-0 lead. But it was all Oregon from there, as the Ducks outscored Arizona 41-19 the rest of the first half.
After Damyean Dotson put the Ducks up 44-30 with a 3-pointer to open the second, the Wildcats went to work with Hill, Kevin Parrom and Lyons attacking the basket during a 12-4 run that cut Oregon’s lead to 48-42 with 17:11 to play.
“Our effort picked up in the second half, but it wasn’t enough,” Lyons said.
The Ducks extended their lead back into double digits when Singler made a 3 with 6:46 left to put them up 63-52.
That was the Ducks’ last field goal of the game. They held off Arizona’s final rally by going 7-for-9 from the free throw line.
No. 22 Michigan State 62,
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Branden Dawson scored a career-high 17 points, including a late steal and tiebreaking dunk for Michigan State.
Gary Harris had 14 points for the Spartans (13-3, 2-1 Big Ten), who hung on late for their eighth win in nine games.
Dawson ripped the ball away from Iowa freshman Mike Gesell and gave Michigan State a 58-56 lead with 49 seconds left.
Anthony Clemmons missed a free throw that would have tied it with 12 seconds to go and airballed a 3-pointer at the buzzer as Iowa (11-5, 0-3) lost its third straight.
The Hawkeyes played without leading scorer Devyn Marble, who sprained his ankle in practice this week.
Zach McCabe led Iowa with 15 points and fellow reserve Melsahn Basabe added 14.
For whatever reason, Michigan State and Iowa have made a habit of teaming up for some ugly basketball in recent years.
The play was brutal at times on Thursday.
The Spartans and Hawkeyes slogged through a series of sloppy possessions early in the second half, with Michigan State slowly chipping away at Iowa’s slim lead.
The Spartans finally took their first lead, 43-42, on a nifty layup by Keith Appling off yet another Iowa turnover with just under 9 minutes left. Harris followed with a 3, and Adreian Payne drove the lane and threw down an emphatic one-handed dunk to put the Spartans ahead 48-45 with 6:15 left.
Michigan State blew the lead but tied it back up at 56 on Harris’ three free throws with 1:04 left.
Appling had 12 points, including four free throws in the final 20 seconds for Michigan State, which forced 18 turnovers.
No. Gonzaga 83, Saint Mary’s 78
SPOKANE, Wash. — Kelly Olynyk scored 31 points, and Gonzaga held off Saint Mary’s in the latest installment of one of the best rivalries on the West Coast.
Kevin Pangos added 22 points for Gonzaga (16-1, 3-0 West Coast Conference), which has won seven straight since losing at home to Illinois. It was Olynyk’s second consecutive 30-point game.
Stephen Holt led Saint Mary’s (12-4, 1-1) with 23 points.
Gonzaga led by 20 early in the second half but had to stave off a furious rally by the Gaels.
Holt hit three baskets and two free throws in a 90-second span to cut Gonzaga’s lead to 55-44 with 13:27 left. Two more buckets by Holt and two by Kyle Rowley made it 59-53, as the Bulldogs suddenly couldn’t find the basket.
After a flurry of baskets that trimmed Gonzaga’s lead to three at one point, Olynyk’s layup put the Zags ahead 76-69 with 3:32 left.
Matthew Dellavedova’s 3-pointer cut Gonzaga’s lead to 79-76 with 1:15 to go. Olynyk could not score on the other end, but Gonzaga got the ball back on a tie up with 49 seconds left.
Pangos missed with 26 seconds left and Dellavedova was fouled on the other end, making both to cut Gonzaga’s lead to 79-78 with 15 seconds left.
Olynyk was fouled on the inbounds play and sank both free throws for an 81-78 lead.
Dellavedova missed a long 3-point attempt with 6.9 seconds left, and the Gaels were forced to foul. Pangos hit two free throws to seal it.
In the first half, Saint Mary’s made only one of its first nine shots to fall behind 9-2. The Gaels fought back to trail by five points, but an 8-2 run gave the Zags a 35-24 lead.
Dellavedova sank a 3-pointer, but after that Saint Mary’s made only one field goal in the final 5 minutes of the first half and Gonzaga closed with an 11-1 run to take a 46-28 halftime lead. Olynyk had 17 first-half points (on 8-of-10 shooting) for Gonzaga, which shot 58 percent while holding the Gaels to 31 percent (9 of 29).