EUGENE, Ore.- It was senior night, but it was the return of a freshman that was most anticipated. Point guard Dominic Artis was out of the boot and on the court Thursday and even with nearly six weeks of rust, the talented frosh played an immense role in the Ducks 85-75 win over OSU.
With the game tied 52-52 with 12:00 left in the second half it was Artis, who had entered the game because Johnathan Loyd had picked up his fourth foul, nailing a corner three to give the Ducks a lead they never relinquished.
“The two threes [Artis hit], we only hit five, his two threes were pretty big in spreading that zone out. He’s just a threat,” head coach Dana Altman said.
Artis finished with 6 points, both on three-point jumpers. Following the game, Altman said he’d set a 10-12 minute limit on his point guard, that proved just right as he played 12 Thursday.
From there, the seniors took control, scoring the next 25 points, before a Loyd free throw in the final two minutes ended that stretch. Many of those 25 came in the paint, in part because Artis’ and Carlos Emory were able to make three point shots.
“We had that zone so spread out, once we hit a couple of threes,” Altman said. “Carlos hit one and DA hit one, then the zone stretched out and we had some places to throw it. They were set pretty tight for a long time…”
Center Tony Woods exploded for three dunks in a three-minute stretch following Artis’ jumper, to help tip the momentum the Ducks way. Woods finished with 16 points, two shy of a career-best and added to his career-shot block number with three.
“I just saw Tony getting really good position down low. He did a great job of sealing his guy. After the first one, I saw the look in his face and I was like ‘we’ve got to go back to that,” said E.J. Singler who was credited with three assists to Woods.
Emory led the way finishing with a fitting career-best 21 points in his last game at Matthew Knight Arena.
Emory’s effort was especially key, following a hard fall suffered by starting guard Damyean Dotson with 6:37 left in the first half. Dotson drew a hand check foul on Oregon State’s Charlie Barton, before driving to the rim and taking a hard hit from Eric Moreland.
“When Damyean went down it kind of more frustrated me than anything, because I know Damyean is definitely a great basketball player, a top freshman in the country. I just wanted to take the game… and play through him,” Emory said, who scored 17 points after Dotson was injured.
Dotson writhed on the floor in pain before being helped off by teammates. After trying to play to start the second half, the Ducks’ second-leading scorer never returned.
“He just took a really hard fall,” Altman said. “He worked hard to try to get it loosened up to go. But he just couldn’t move. It’s in his hip and his rear end. We’re fortunate because we’ve got a week, because I don’t he’d play Saturday.”
Arsalan Kazemi capped his career at MKA with his eighth double-double at Oregon, scoring 17 points and grabbing twelve boards. Singler was the lone senior not to reach double-figures, finishing with 9 points, while doling out six assists.
For the seventh time this season, Oregon trailed a Pac-12 opponent at the half, falling behind the Beavers 41-34. Oregon holds a 6-1 record in such instances, including a 51-32 margin at Gill Coliseum earlier this year, which was eerily similar to Thursday’s 51-34 second half.
“Nah, I knew we were going to win,” said Singler when asked if he was concerned by the first half deficit. “We were down by six at their place and seven here. I had full confidence in our guys. I knew we would regroup and we did. We came out and played really good on defense, got some turnovers and executed offensively. I knew that we would come back. I wasn’t that worried.
“In the second half I just knew we were going to come out and run them over,” Emory said. “I had just had confidence in all of us that we would come back and win this game.”