Oregon men’s basketball suffers one of worst nonconference home losses of Dana Altman era, routed by UC Irvine

Oregon suffered one of the worst losses of the Dana Altman era, sending the No. 21 Ducks into a tailspin for a second straight season.

N’Faly Dante had 20 points and nine rebounds for Oregon in a 69-56 loss to UC Irvine on Friday night at Matthew Knight Arena.

It was the UO’s biggest loss in a home non-conference game since Dec. 18, 2011 against Virginia. However, while UC Irvine is a perennial top 150 team and a contender outside of the Big West in the NCAA Tournament, the wire-to-wire nature of the Anteaters’ win and the Ducks’ poor shooting performance made it worse.

“We were outplayed in every aspect of the game,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “Hustle, toughness. We’ve had a number of practices like that. I was afraid it would come at some point, but they were aggressive from the start; we stood straight up and down. Turnover points, second-chance points, absolutely killed us in the first half. put…

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“Poor mental effort. We did not compete. I wish I had something positive to say, but it’s really disappointing. People are disappointed. I was disappointed. Beaten from the beginning.”

Although UC Irvine hangs on Sunday in Oregon’s return to being a Quadrant 3 game, it is UO’s worst home loss by opponent level on paper since a Nov. 26, 2018 loss to Texas Southern.

DJ Davis had 24 points on 8-of-17 shooting from the field, including 6-of-14 and 2-of-2 at the free throw line for UC Irvine, which recorded its first regular-season win over a top-25 team since 2001.

Davis helped the Anteaters take an early lead, and Dante scored the first five points of a 10-1 run to put Oregon up 18-17 with 6:11 left in the first half. That was Oregon’s only lead as UC Irvine closed the half on an 18-4 run to take a 35-22 lead at halftime and never looked back.

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With the Ducks rudderless, the Anteaters led by at least 20 points throughout the second half. Oregon avoided an all-time wretched showing from long range until its first 1-for-18 run from behind the arc to close it out with straight threes.

Nate Bittle had 10 points and six rebounds as the only other player in double figures for Oregon, which got four points, four rebounds and four assists from Will Richardson (1-for-6 from the field) and none from Quincy Gurrier (0-for-0). 5 field goals).

“I’m sure Will was really disappointed with his performance,” Altman said. “I’m sure Quincy. It’s a team thing, but I expect more from those guys with their experience. Dante did some good things fighting, but his turnovers and missed free throws took away from his performance. … The eight guys who played a lot, Dante’s effort was very good, but they took it to us.

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Oregon had 15 turnovers leading to 25 points for UC Irvine, its third all-time series win since Nov. 29, 1982, in a six-game loss to UO.

“Credit to the guys in our locker room, they came in and believed they could compete and that’s always hard to generate, but we have a winning tradition,” UC Irvine coach Russell Turner said. “They had some guys, it wasn’t easy to play us early in the year, I know that. Credit to them for getting this game, it was great for us to get a chance to come here and play. This was a great opportunity for us to play a team of their quality. We will not take this lightly.”

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