EUGENE - Oregon led for all of 1 minute, 2 seconds, but they held the advantage when it mattered. The No. 13 Ducks fought their way to beat BYU 100-96 in overtime to remain unbeaten with Pac-12 play looming.
"That's probably the most exciting game I've ever played in," said sophomore guard Damyean Dotson.
It might not have been quite so exciting had Dotson not converted a driving lay-up with 35 seconds remaining in overtime that gave them their first lead since 2-0.
"I think we showed some character there, we showed some toughness," said coach Dana Altman. "That's one of the advantages of playing with a veteran group, we were down seven and we just kept playing."
That seven-point deficit was held with just over two minutes to play, before the Ducks pieced together five stops on BYU's final six possessions of regulation.
"That's exactly how we want to play those last four or five possessions. We've just got to lock up, get in the passing lanes, pressure the ball, just play," said Jason Calliste.
Calliste was integral to the team's win. The senior guard had a career-best 31 points, and kept them within striking range when it appeared the Cougars might be pulling away.
"Offensively, defensively, he changed the game. He had a really good game. He was the only one slowing Tyler down. Jason played really well," Altman said.
"I moved back to my natural position: the two-guard, and scored the ball," Calliste said. "That's what I do, score the ball and defend."
Calliste had many of his points at the charity stripe, leading the charge in the second half when the Ducks really tried to attack the rim.
"We went to the free throw line five times in the first half and 26 in the second half, we started attacking more in the second half," said Joseph Young.
Young finished with 25 points.
Oregon shot 20 threes in the first half, and only took nine in the second. The Ducks shot a season-low 40.7 percent from the field.
"I didn't like our shot selection there, we were in a hurry," Altman said of the first half. "They were scoring baskets, so we wanted to come back and score right away too.
"I'd like to be able to sugar coat it better than that. We were shooting quick and didn't make them guard like we wanted to."
At their best, BYU was nearly unstoppable in the first half. The Cougars missed just 13 shots, and made eight points on second half baskets.
"It felt like we were down by 50," Calliste said, although 10 points was largest lead held by BYU. "We knew we had to get stops and rebound and pretty much that would dictate whether we win or lose the game. So at the end of the game we just came through got stops, rebounds, made free throws and won the game."
BYU shot 17-for-42 after the first half, but perhaps more importantly were a putrid 22-for-35 from the free throw line for the game.
"We were fortunate. We got beat 11 on the boards. We got outplayed for a large part of the game. They missed free throws. The bottom line is they could've sealed it up from the line and they didn't hit free throws and we hit ours," Altman said.
Fortunate or not, the Ducks are 11-0 for the first time since 2006-07 and will have an opportunity to best that 13-0 star with wins over Morgan State and at Utah.