EUGENE, Ore. (AP)Jermaine Couisnard scored 27 points in his first start of the season as Oregon beat No. 9 Arizona 87-68 on Saturday night.
Couisnard, a transfer from South Carolina who missed the first 14 games of the season due to injury, made six 3-pointers, including one that was intended to be an assist on an alley-oop.
Senior center N’Faly Dante added 22 points, including a highlight dunk early in the game, and 10 rebounds as the Ducks (10-8, 4-3 Pac-12) shot 53.1 percent from the field. Will Richardson added 14 points and Nate Bittle scored 10.
”It was a great effort,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. ”The guys really responded, and they showed their competitiveness, played with tremendous energy and the crowd was great.”
Kylan Boswell scored 15 points to pace the Wildcats (15-3, 4-3) while Azuolas Tubelis had 14 points and six rebounds. Courtney Ramey made four 3-pointers for 12 points, and Oumar Ballo added 10 points and seven rebounds.
”When you play a team like that that is fighting for their season, trying to get a statement win, you have to match their energy,” Ramey said. ”In the first seven or eight minutes we did, but they kept swinging and we didn’t match it. They are a good team with a lot of good players and they came in desperate. We have to try and make every game like that for us.”
Oregon was coming off a 90-73 loss to Arizona State on Thursday before registering its best win of the year.
”We came together as a team,” Couisnard said. ”We knew we were better than we showed on Thursday. It was a team effort for everybody.”
Ramey opened the second half with consecutive 3-pointers to tie the game at 43 before Oregon followed with the next 10 points.
”Obviously it was nice to hit those 3’s and you hope to get a little momentum, but then you give up a 10-0 run and we kind of lost our mind after that,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said.
Rivaldo Soares pushed the lead to 61-48 on a 3-point play with 12:21 left in the game. Dante scored and added a free throw to extend the margin to 66-52 and Arizona never threatened again.
The two teams traded the lead six times in the first half before Oregon took a 43-37 lead to the locker room thanks to 50% shooting from the field.
Oregon led 7-5 before Bello had back-to-back dunks and Ramey added a 3-pointer. Tubelis followed with back-to-back buckets as Arizona took its largest lead at 16-9.
Oregon followed with a 14-3 run highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers from Couisnard to pull ahead 23-19. Boswell made back-to-back 3-pointers for Arizona and Kerr Kriisa added three free throws to put Arizona back ahead 28-26.
After Tubelis tied the game 33-33, Oregon scored seven straight points culminating with a 3-pointer from Keeshawn Barthelemy to pull ahead with 3:13 left in the first half.
Arizona: The Wildcats will likely fall out of the top 10 after a third conference loss to an unranked foe. Arizona may not be able to afford another loss and still contend for the Pac-12 title, but two remaining games against UCLA gives the Wildcats a path to the championship.
Oregon: The Ducks resuscitated their NCAA Tournament hopes with a win over the Wildcats, their first win over a team in the top 15 of the NET rankings since last year. Oregon faces a key road trip next week at California and Stanford to try to build momentum toward a postseason run.
Arizona: The Wildcats host USC on Thursday night.
Oregon: The Ducks visit California on Wednesday night.
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