No. 15 Oregon defeats upset-minded Illinois
Portland, OR (SportsNetwork.com) - Mike Moser had 14 points and nine rebounds and Johnathan Loyd added 11 points and seven assists to lead 15th-ranked Oregon to a 71-64 win over Illinois at Moda Center on Saturday.
Joseph Young scored 14 points, Elgin Cook added 12 and Damyean Dotson chipped in with 10 for the Ducks (9-0), who are off to their best start since going 13-0 to start the 2006-07 campaign.
"It is a great characteristic to have as a ball club," Oregon coach Dana Altman said of his team's strong finish. "I was very disappointed in the first 30 minutes. It is a good trait to have but not something you want to rely on. The pendulum really swung the last 30 minutes and our defense really helped with that."
Tracy Abrams and Rayvonte Rice finished with 16 points apiece and Jon Ekey chipped in with 10 points and eight rebounds for the Fighting Illini (9-2), who lost for the second time in four games.
"I'm proud that my guys were able to concentrate and try to take away what we did. At the end of the day, they're (Oregon) very good offensively and are well-coached," said Illinois coach John Groce. "Our guys played really hard. I loved our effort and attitude. We did a lot of good things defensively. I thought we got a little tentative at the end."
Illinois opened up a seven-point lead after Austin Colbert threw down a slam with 15:12 remaining. The teams traded baskets until Rice stripped Cook and took it all the way in for a layup for a 50-43 lead.
Moser tipped in his own miss with 9:48 left to ignite a 13-2 run that put the Ducks on top 58-54 with just over six minutes remaining.
Nnanna Egwu buried a triple at the 3:37 mark to put the Illini up 59-58, but Cook's layup, followed by a Moser triple made it 63-59 a minute later, and Oregon never looked back.
It was a one-possession game after a pair of Abrams free throws with 18 ticks showing, but Loyd knocked down a pair of his own, then picked off a lazy pass from Abrams and raced down an layed it in with five seconds to go to seal the win.
Oregon trailed 20-16 with 7:40 left in the first half, but scored nine straight points to go up 25-20. Illinois, though, countered with a quick 6-0 burst to regain the lead, and the sides went into the break tied at 32-32.
Oregon's 2006-07 team made it to the Elite Eight ... Oregon shot 55.8 percent (29-for-52) from the field ... Oregon's bench outscored the Illinois reserves by a 19-9 margin ... Illinois had just eight assists.
12/15 00:50:48 ET