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Disastrous second half dooms Arizona in blowout loss at Oregon

arizona-wildcats-college-basketball-ncaa-investigation-fbi-bribery-miller-statement-deandre-ayton Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats came into Eugene on a bit of a run, having won three straight games to throw itself into the mix for a first-round bye in the Pac-12 tournament.

Then it got run out of Matthew Knight Arena.

Arizona (17-13, 8-9) was outscored 42-16 in the second half on Saturday night in a 73-47 loss to the Oregon Ducks. It was the’ second loss this season to Oregon (17-12, 8-8) and dropped the Wildcats back to 10th place with one game left in the regular season.

The Wildcats shot 31.3 percent, making just 5 of 26 shots in the second half including 1 of 12 from three-point range. Adding to the offensive disaster was a 9-of-18 performance from the foul line as Arizona registered its fewest points in a Pac-12 game under coach Sean Miller.

A win next Saturday at home against ASU would prevent Arizona from recording its first losing conference record since 2007-08.

Dylan Smith had 14 points, all in the first half, while Brandon Williams added 12 for Arizona, which turned it over 15 times. Chase Jeter, who left Thursday’s win at Oregon State with a knee injury, came off the bench but logged just six first-half minutes and did not score.

Tied at 31 at the half, the teams traded leads early on before Ryan Luther let his emotions get the best of him and ultimately swung the game for Oregon.

Called for a foul trying to block Kenny Wooten at the rim, Luther yelled and flailed his arms right in front of official Verne Harris to earn a T. The Ducks made 3 of 4 foul shots from that incident, part of a 12-0 run to lead 45-35 lead with 13:29 left.

Two Williams free throws ended a 5:17 Wildcat scoring drought, the second of three dry spells of at least five minutes on Saturday. It was the start of 10 straight Arizona points for Williams, who only played six minutes in the first half after picking up three fouls.

But those 10 points came over more than 10 minutes, with a scoreless period of 7:05 thrown in there during which Oregon extended its edge to 63-42.

Arizona led 11-2 early on while Oregon missed its first seven shots, all jumpers, a far cry from the team that shot 49.2 percent and scored 40 points in the paint in a 79-51 blowout of ASU on Thursday. The Ducks didn’t score until four minutes into the game, but once they started hitting they didn’t miss many for a while.

A 23-3 run, aided by seven Arizona turnovers, put Oregon up 25-14 with 6:43 left in the first half.

The Wildcats went 5:11 without scoring before Luther hit a three with 6:30 remaining. Three-point shooting was all Arizona had going for it in the first half, making seven of 12 from deep while missing seven of 10 shots from inside the arc and four of eight free throws.

Yet it managed to take a 31-28 lead with 1:02 left on a three by Devonaire Doutrive, capping a 14-1 run, before Oregon’s Paul White knotted the game with a three in the final minute of the half.