EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon opened the regular season with a 13-game winning streak. They closed it with seven straight victories.
The Ducks may have stumbled in the middle, but reserve guard Jason Calliste says the Ducks still belong in the national conversation — especially after a 64-57 win over No. 3 Arizona in the regular-season finale on Saturday.
“We can be one of the best teams in the country,” he said. “Doesn’t matter who we’re playing. Doesn’t matter what the name on the chest says.”
Calliste made the go-ahead jumper and free throw with 4:22 left and finished with 18 points for the Ducks, who trailed by as many as 12 points.
“I just didn’t want to lose,” he said. “Wasn’t time to go home yet.”
Johnathan Loyd added 16 points for the Ducks (22-8, 10-8 Pac-12) who greatly improved their chances of a bid in the NCAA tournament. Last season Oregon won the conference tournament and advanced all the way to the regional semifinals.
Aaron Gordon had 21 points for the Wildcats (28-3, 15-3), who had already clinched the Pac-12 regular-season title heading into next week’s conference tournament in Las Vegas.
The Ducks won 13 straight to start the season and got ranked as high as No. 10, but then they lost five straight to tumble out of the poll and fall in the Pac-12 standings.
The Ducks considered the game a must-win after a six-game winning streak made them a possible bubble team for the NCAA postseason and gave them their fourth straight season with at least 20 victories.
As for the prospects following the victory over Arizona, Oregon coach Dana Altman wasn’t going to speculate.
“I’m not going to worry about all that,” he said. “We’ve got to go to the conference tournament and we’ve just got to play.”
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