EUGENE, Ore. (AP)—Still reeling from its first loss of the season two nights earlier, No. 9 Missouri nearly got nipped again.
After blowing almost all of their 20-point halftime lead, the Tigers held on to beat Oregon 83-80 on Thursday night in a Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series game.
Marcus Denmon scored 19 points for Missouri (6-1), while Kim English had 12 points, Ricardo Ratliffe and Michael Dixon both added 11 points and Matt Pressey had 10.
“They just didn’t go away,” Dixon said. “That would have been what you call a hangover.”
Missouri’s first game since Tuesday’s 111-102 overtime loss to No. 16 Georgetown could have had a much worse ending for the Tigers.
E.J. Singler scored a career-high 19 points for the Ducks (4-3), who trailed 44-24 at halftime but shot 62.1 percent from the field and made 8 of 15 3-pointers in the second half. Freshman Johnathan Loyd made two 3s in the final 14 seconds, the second of which cut the Tigers’ lead to 82-80 with 8 seconds to play.
But Dixon made 1 of 2 free throws with 5.3 seconds left, and the Ducks missed on a last-ditch effort to tie the game as time ran out.
Loyd, Jay-R Strowbridge and Joevan Catron all had 15 points for the Ducks.
“Those guys fought hard to chip away and just being in this situation, it was stressing me out the way this game was coming out,” Denmon said. “I was just glad to get out of here with a win.”
Despite playing for the seventh time in 14 days, the Tigers were sharp in the first half, leading by as many as 22 points and shooting 64.3 percent from the field.
Denmon, who had a career-high 27 points against the Hoyas, scored 13 in the first half. He finished the game 5 of 7 from the field, 3 for 4 from 3-point range and 6 for 7 from the free throw line. He had a team-best eight rebounds.
But then fatigue set in for Missouri.
“We wore down and they took advantage,” Missouri coach Mike Anderson said.
Oregon, which was turned down by Anderson during its coaching search last spring before hiring Dana Altman from Creighton, was without two starters who were late scratches. Teondre Williams sat because of a concussion and Jeremy Jacob was held out after experiencing discomfort in his surgically repaired right knee.
Still, the Ducks kept their deficit under 10 points until a 3-pointer by Pressey sparked an 11-2 run that made it 31-13 with 6:22 to play in the first half.
Missouri’s length and athleticism kept the Ducks from having an inside presence early. Oregon finished the first half with just 10 points in the paint and was blocked five times, including three times by Ratliffe, who finished with four blocks. Oregon scored 14 of its 24 points in the first half on two 3-pointers and eight free throws and shot just 23.3 percent.
But Singler capped a 10-0 run early in the second half with the first of his three 3-pointers as the Ducks cut their deficit to 49-41 with 13:25 to play.
“Guys did a great job in the second half, battling,” Altman said. “I was proud of them in the second half. We’ve got a long ways to go.”