By REED NELSON
7:05 p.m. — Opening tip here in Eugene, and before the ball is even tossed the most important man in the gym makes his presence known. And not even Uncle Phil can carry a candle to the legend that is Miles Simon, who happens to be calling the game for ESPNU. I feel like he should have been something, but he played before HD and YouTube, so hard evidence confirming this theory doesn’t exactly exist (because nothing that happened before HD and YouTube really happened. Just ask McGwire. Or Sosa. Or white Sosa).
7:08 p.m. — Kyle Singler hits the first bucket of the game, a three, which is kind of like one of the male leads on MTV’s BUCKWILD making sense — it doesn’t happen often, it’s unexpected and it’s hard to know what to make of it.
7:12 p.m. — First TV timeout, Oregon up 7-5. Jonathan Loyd is starting tonight, in place of still-injured Dominic Artis, a.k.a. My Favorite Player. Loyd, it should be noted, has started in the Ducks last three games, two of those losses. He’s turning the ball over at a rate that would frighten Jeremy Lin and has yet to find any sort of offensive rhythm. While it would be unfair to pin the Stanford loss on Loyd, turning the ball over six times against Cal (while your team loses by just four in the waning moments) makes the pint-sized Loyd an easy target.
7:18 p.m. — Arsalan Kazemi! And Miles Simon, who apparently is not on Twitter (or at least isn’t followed by the official account of Oregon Men’s Basketball and actually is on Twitter, @milessimon if you’re interested), is campaigning hard for Kazemi to get a #SCTop10 nomination. Well played, Miles, well played. Even the former Arizona great figured out the nuances of the hashtag. And even on the fringe network’s, the cross promotion is flawless. Oregon leads 13-7.
7:26 p.m. — Freshman Willie Moore, playing an increased role with the absence of Artis, made a nice runner with the shot clock winding down, but his shot creation abilities rival those of David Spade’s Marcus Higgins in the modern classic Grown Ups. My grandmother has more conviction making a left-hand turn during rush hour than he does while dribbling a basketball. And considering he hasn’t made a three since Manti Te’o’s girlfriend was still a real thing, the 6’3-ish guard might want to develop either a shot from distance or decent ball-handling skills if he expects to get on the floor with a healthy Arits and Daymean Dotson also getting significant time as freshpeople.
7:31 p.m. — Not to go all Steven Spielberg on you — and by that I mean, not to beat a dead horse or anything — but without Artis in the lineup, Oregon is really a slave to their system. E.J. Singler becomes their iso-heavy part by default, and he’s not exactly known as a live-wire with the basketball. On a totally unrelated note, 15 years removed from his Final Four heroics, Miles Simon doesn’t exactly look like Miles Simon. Assuming that science can do things like this, he now looks something that would come out of a Henry Rollins–Amaury Nolasco petri dish. Oh, and Oregon’s lead is down to two, 19-17, with 3:45 to play.
7:39 p.m. — Check that, 21-17. Dotson just went coast-to-coast in a refreshing blast-from-the-first-half-of-the-season.
7:43 p.m. — Carlos Emory drills a long two, which begs the question: How is a senior so inconsistent? He is the guy that should be leading this team, along with Singler, on the wing. But for whatever reason, he seems lose faith in his shot no less than five times a game. When he’s on, he’s among the best two on the Ducks’ roster.
7:47 p.m. — And he appears to be on. Emory drills a 19-footer, putting the Ducks up seven, 28-21, with :22 seconds to play in the half. It’s a barn burner, folks.
7:50 p.m. — Loyd re-injured his thumb committing a foul before the first half buzzer, and then Colorado’s Josh Scott hit a turnaround as time expired to cut the lead to five, 28-23. If you played the first half under, you’re probably really happy right now. You’re also probably broke. Come on, man. It’s a prop in a moderately important conference game. Don’t be betting the first half over or under. Take Colorado and the points — the Ducks have been playing everyone close since Artis got hurt. Oh, and another week, another number one goes down. PEACE, INDIANA’S #1 SPOT. P.S. I LOVE YOUR WARM-UP PANTS. THEY REMIND ME OF CLOWNS AND DINERS AND COCA-COLA. P.P.S. PURRRRR.
Halftime Stats Update:
- E.J. Singler — 12 points on 5 of 9 shooting, 3 rebounds and one assist.
- Arsalan Kazemi — 2 points on 1 of 2 shooting, 6 rebounds and no assists.
- Damyean Dotson — 2 points on 1 of 4 shooting, 2 rebounds and one assist
- Jonathan Loyd — 0 points on 0 of 5 shooting, 1 rebound and one assist
- Carlos Emory — 8 points on 4 of 7 shooting, 1 rebound and one assist
- Tony Woods — 2 points on 1 of 2 shooting, 3 rebounds and one assist
Halftime analysis in 145 characters or less and in Haiku form (because we’re more concise and more complex than Twitter):
Without Artis, Ducks
Be Stalling hard on offense
Score more points Oregon
8:10 p.m. — I apologize in advance, Jonathan Loyd. I feel this focus has been unfair. But that being said, Loyd cannot pick up two fouls within 20 seconds of gametime. Oregon has no one — unless you count the ghost of Luke Ridnour — capable of running the point if Loyd is off the floor.
8:11 p.m. — Two Spencer Dinwiddie free throws pulled Colorado within two, but Tony Woods answered right back.
8:12 p.m. — Whoa. Either Kazemi or Singler’s head made enough of a thud on the floor for the baseline boom mic’s to pick it up. Not like concussions have mattered recently or anything…
8:13 p.m. — Different ballgame here in the second half, but same Willie Moore. I’m sure he does things well, but dribbling and shooting are not among those things. And Carlos Emory, speaking of drive-to-drive play slams home a dunk on a fastbreak then blows one on the next fastbreak. If there was a third Fastbreak, he’d try to eat it just to keep things unpredictable.
8:21 p.m. — Walking Jinx, ladies and gentlemen. Six minutes later, and the score has held at 35-33. See if it works the other way.
8:49 p.m. — Technical difficulties, folks. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. But Oregon has been having some technical difficulties as well in the last 20 minutes. Their seemingly impermeable five-point lead finally caved in with around four to play, and following a layup from Colorado’s Andre Roberson, Oregon’s lead has been cut to one with 1:51 to play. No Artis, no artist, hold on folks.
8:52 p.m. — Gross. Jonathan Loyd has been proving how much Artis matters to this team one shot at a time tonight. The last one was an airballed three as the shot clock expired, bringing his shot total to a sparklingly putrid 0-for-7. Luckily for the Ducks, the Buffs forgot about the dribbling rule and turned it over. And then Oregon gets whistled for an offensive foul with under a minute to play! Have I mentioned how much this team misses a competent ball handler? At this point, Damyean Dotson and Kyle Singler should be the only two players on the roster allowed to put it on the floor, and they should still have a six bounce limit. Dana Altman has constructed his bunch his way, but we might finally be witnessing the drawbacks of having 75 percent of a roster dominated by non-specialized wings.
8:56 p.m. — Colorado to inbound… Kazemi with the block! And Roberson with the putback. Again, gross. Timeout, Ducks. :08 seconds to play. Colorado’s first lead of the game comes inside of 30 seconds, and now it all comes down to a white board and execution. Count on Singler to come off more than one screen for a look.
8:58 p.m. — And that’s what they draw up?!?! A turnaround elbow jumper, contested to high hell, from the Deacon of Drab, E.J. Singler? With four seconds still on the clock?!?! THAT WAS AWFUL. THAT WAS F@*%*NG AWFUL..
FINAL SCORE: COLORADO 48, #19 OREGON 47
9:00 p.m. — So long, first place in the Pac-12. So long Tourney lock. Hello, 7-3 conference record. Hello RPI-raised doubts. Hello sinking expectations. Goodbye, Reed. Nelson, OUT.