EUGENE, Ore. -- The University of Oregon men’s basketball team opened up the Matthew Knight Arena era on a strong note with a 68-62 victory over USC on Thursday night.
The Ducks (8-9, 1-4 Pac-10) snapped a six-game losing streak in front of 12,364 fans and led by as many as 20 points in front of the sellout crowd.
Both offenses were a little stagnant in the opening moments as the Ducks and Trojans opened the game with three consecutive turnovers and combined to miss their first seven shots from the floor.
Garrett Sim finally opened the scoring 2:46 in with a jumper from the free throw line. Sim made three of his first four shots, including a three-pointer, to give the Ducks a 13-6 lead with 11:24 left in the opening stanza.
After USC battled back to tie the contest at 21 apiece with 3:02 to play, E.J. Singler drained a three from the top of the key and Johnathan Loyd followed with a steal, a score and a free throw to put the Ducks back up by six.
With Oregon leading by four points and time expiring on the first half, Tyrone Nared gathered a Sim miss and followed with an emphatic dunk at the buzzer to send UO into the locker room up by six at 32-26.
The Ducks extended their lead to seven points just 1:40 into the second half on a fast break bucket by Loyd. After the Trojans clawed back to within 38-35, The Ducks erupted for 12-straight points on treys by Teondre Williams and Nared and buckets by Loyd, Sim and Malcolm Armstead as the Ducks jumped ahead 50-35.
UO maintained its momentum after a USC bucket and expanded its lead to 20 on an Armstead bucket with 11:52 remaining, capping a 19-2 run.
USC stepped up the defensive intensity and kept UO scoreless for over four and a half minutes and held the Ducks without a field goal for the final 8:56 of the game. A 13-0 run by the Trojans made it a five-point game with 4:28 remaining, but Singler weathered the storm with a pair of free throws to make it 65-58 with just over three minutes to play and the Ducks did not allow a field goal for the rest of the way to secure the win.
Oregon made 42.9 percent of its field goal attempts while USC shot 41.5 percent from the floor. The Ducks held a 34-31 edge in rebounding. UO’s defense forced 14 turnovers and the offense turned it over 12 times.
Four Ducks scored in double figures in a balanced offensive effort. Loyd scored 12 points, Armstead tallied 11 and Nared and Singler poured in 10 apiece. Singler led Oregon with seven rebounds.
The Ducks welcome UCLA to Matthew Knight Arena on Saturday afternoon. Opening tip is at 2:00 p.m.
-Garrett Sim scored eight of Oregon’s first 13 points and gave UO its largest lead of the first half at 13-6 with a three-point play.
-The Ducks led the Trojans 32-26 at halftime, marking the first time they have led after 20 minutes of play since Dec. 13 when they led Jacksonville State, 39-27, at the break. Oregon improved to 5-1 this season when leading at halftime.
-Tyrone Nared made the first three-pointer of his career and the first in Matthew Knight Arena history to give the Duck a 7-4 lead with 12:54 remaining in the first half. Nared (10 points) recorded his third double digit scoring effort of the season.
-E.J. Singler (11 points) scored in double figures for the 12th time this season
-Johnathan Loyd (12 points) scored in double figures for the fourth time this season and second game in a row.
-Oregon led 57-37 with 11:52 remaining in the second half, its largest lead in a game since leading Jacksonville State by 26 on Dec. 13. This marks the fifth game this season that the Ducks have held a lead of 20 points or more.
Matthew Knight Arena Firsts
First Points: Garrett Sim
First Rebound: Jeremy Jacob
First Assist: Jay-R Strowbridge
First Steal: Maurice Jones (USC)
First UO Steal: Malcolm Armstead
First Block: Nikola Vucevic (USC)
First UO Block: Tyrone Nared
First Three-Pointer: Tyrone Nared
First Dunk: Tyrone Nared
Basketball - M
BASKETBALL - M
BASKETBALL - W
GOLF - M
GOLF - W
TENNIS - M
TENNIS - W
TRACK & FIELD
Thu, Mar 13
Basketball - M 6:00 PM
Las Vegas, Nev.