Huge Night for Oregon
In what has to be one the worst 24-hour periods in a college basketball program’s history; news came out that Arizona’s head coach, Sean Miller, was caught talking about offering a recruit, DeAndre Ayton, 100k to come to the program, Allonzo Trier was ruled ineligible for failing a drug test and Shareef O’Neal de-committed because of the FBI investigation. And yet that wasn’t all that went wrong for the Wildcats yesterday.
Last night, the Oregon Ducks faced off against the #14 Arizona Wildcats in Eugene in what was a must win for the Ducks if they wanted any remote chance of still being considered for March Madness.
It didn’t start pretty for the Ducks; the Wildcats went on 7-0 run and even after the Ducks scored the Wildcats didn’t miss a shot until it was 14-6 Wildcats. DeAndre Ayton and Dusan Ristic were destroying the Ducks in the paint, and the referees were calling fouls on the Ducks if they even so much as looked at Ayton. But then down by twelve points and all but out of the game two of the most unlikely Oregon players rose up to lead the Ducks onto their biggest win of the season, Elijah Brown and Abu Kigab. Yes, you read that right the Ducks beat Arizona 98-90 because of Elijah Brown and Abu Kigab.
Elijah Brown has a lot of haters on the site but last night when it mattered most in the biggest game of his Oregon career Brown rose to the occasion. Brown’s night started off rough missing shots but by the end of the night he was nailing crucial three after crucial three and free throw after free throw. At the end of the game Brown had racked up 30 points, a season high. Almost as important all night long he drove to the rim making the defense crash on him allowing his teammates to get open looks at the basket. Add to that the crucial free throws he made late in the game, Brown could not have played a better game during his last game at Matthew Knight Arena.
The most unlikely star of the game was freshman, Abu Kigab. I have liked Kigab since the start of the season I knew that he was an athletic kid that gave his all every game and last night in the biggest game of his career he showed everyone his skill. His stat line didn’t show it, only playing eleven minutes and recording zero points but he also had three steals and was irreplaceable in the full court press defense that led to the Ducks upset. Kigab was loving every second of last night, all the hard work he has been putting in this season showed last night. At one point the crowd was even chanting “ABU…ABU”. I can’t wait for Kigab to continue to grow as a player at Oregon.