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Arizona loses sixth straight to Oregon as rebounding, free throw rate fail Wildcats

Mike Mattina / Arizona Athletics

Different year, same result against the Oregon Ducks.

The Arizona Wildcats lost their sixth consecutive game to Oregon, falling 63-61 at McKale Center on Saturday afternoon.

Kerr Kriisa’s 3-point attempt from the top of the key at the buzzer was off to the right, preventing the freshman from capping off what had been his best game to date with 12 points and four triples along with five assists.

Fellow Baltic freshman Azuolas Tubelis had 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting, making 3 of 5 3s, while the rest of the Wildcats (14-7, 8-7 Pac-12) were 11 of 37 from the field.

Oregon’s Chris Duarte hit the game-winning 3 with 15.6 seconds left as the Ducks (12-4, 7-3) made a pair of triples in the final 1:02.

Arizona’s season-long strengths—rebounding and getting to the line—both failed it on Saturday. The Wildcats were outrebounded 38-30, the first time that’s happened in 2020-21, with Oregon’s 12 offensive boards the most by any opponent in regulation, while Arizona attempted a season-low 11 free throws.

Tied at 34 at the half, Arizona took its first lead since 2-0 when Kriisa drove and dished to Tubelis for a dunk with 19:18 left. That duo teamed up for the Wildcats’ first three baskets of the second half.

Oregon retook the lead at 47-46 on a free throw that came off its ninth offensive rebound, building it to three before Kriisa nailed his fourth 3-pointer to tie it at 49 with 11:59 to go. Arizona would miss nine of its next 10 shots, however.

The Ducks went up 55-52 on a Duarte jumper with 6:30 left, and their 12th offensive board was turned into a basket by Will Richardson to keep the lead at three with five minutes remaining.

A 5-0 run put Arizona ahead 59-57 with 1:57 on a James Akinjo 3, which came after a second consecutive Oregon possession in which Eugene Omoruyi traveled. Omoruyi was nearly unstoppable most of the game, making 7 of his first 11 shots and finishing with 19 points.

Richardson’s 3 put Oregon up 60-59 with 1:02 left before Arizona retook the lead on a pair of Christian Koloko free throws with 34.6 seconds to go. It was a moment of redemption for Koloko, who in last year’s home loss to the Ducks missed two late foul shots that would have won it for the Wildcats.

After Duarte’s game-winning 3, Arizona looked disjointed on its final possession, almost not getting a shot off before Oregon used its foul to give with 1.1 seconds left. Kriisa’s attempt at the buzzer was altered by a Duck defender forcing him to pump fake before taking the shot.

The start of the contest had shades of the blowout loss at Utah, with Arizona scoring the first basket and then giving up 11 in a row, causing Sean Miller to call a timeout less than four minutes into the game. The Ducks

Oregon got up 22-12 before Arizona, which started 5 of 17 from the field, started to score. The Wildcats hit three consecutive 3-pointers to get within 24-22 with 6:30 left.

Kriisa’s third 3 of the opening half tied it at 34 as the Wildcats held Oregon to just 12 points over the final 10 minutes.

While Kriisa made 4 3s, Arizona’s other guards were a combined 7 for 26 from the field. Akinjo was 3 for 10 while Bennedict Mathurin was 2 of 10 and missed all 6 3-point attempts.

Arizona next heads out for its final scheduled road trip of the season when it visits UCLA on Thursday. The Wildcats have dropped four in a row to the Bruins, including an 81-76 home loss in January.