The last four weeks for the Oregon Ducks have been a nightmare. After an overtime victory against the Utah Utes on January 2, the Ducks had a schedule tailor-made to earn a no. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but have fallen flat on their face in the Pac 12 Conference play.
The Ducks were able to snap a five-game losing streak on Saturday with a convincing win against the Washington State Cougars. Things seemed to be looking up. Then on Tuesday, guard Johnathan Loyd broke his nose in practice and had surgery the following day. He was a game-time decision on Thursday night against UCLA.
Loyd leads the Ducks in assists, and his absence would have been a big blow to the Oregon rotation. Loyd played, but was relatively ineffective. His battery mate Joseph Young had 16 points in the first half to give the Ducks a four-point lead at the half. The first 15 minutes of the second half belonged to the Bruins, however, as they got out to a double-digit lead.
Oregon battled back with a 14-0 run in the final five minutes of the contest. Guard Jason Calliste led the big comeback for the Ducks, but it was all for naught. The Ducks were unable to secure a defensive rebound in the final 35 seconds in three attempts, which led to a go-ahead bucket that gave the Bruins the win. Loyd had his shot blocked at the buzzer, and his Ducks lost 70-68.
The Ducks were a dismal 2-6 in the month of January, and will play the USC Trojans on Saturday to start the month of February. The Trojans have lost all but one of their conference games. Their average margin in those losses is about 18 points.