UC Irvine vs. Oregon – Game Recap – November 11, 2022

EUGENE, Ore. — DJ Davis scored 24 points and hit six 3-pointers as UC Irvine stunned No. 21 Oregon 69-56 on Friday night.

Dawson Baker added 11 points for UC Irvine (2-0), who are picked fourth in the Big West Conference this season. The anteaters made 12 of 28 3-pointers.

“Believe the guys in our locker room, they believed they could come in and compete and it’s hard to generate that all the time but we have a winning heritage,” said UC Irvine coach Russell Turner. “They had some guys out and it’s not easy playing us early in the year, I know that. Give them credit for making this game. It was a big deal for us to get the opportunity to come here and play. It was a damn good opportunity for us to play against a team of their quality. That is not a matter of course for us.”

The Ducks were led by N’Faly Dante with 20 points while Nate Bittle added 10 points. Oregon shot 32.7% from the field, including 4-for-21 on 3 points.

“We were beaten in every facet of the game,” said Oregon coach Dana Altman. “Rush, toughness, some of our drills were similar to that and I was afraid that might come at some point. You were the aggressor from the start.”

It was UC Irvine’s first win over a ranked opponent since beating No. 18 Kansas State 70-64 in the 2019 NCAA tournament. The last time the Anteaters defeated a ranked team in the regular season was in 2003 over No 20

“It definitely makes sense to beat a program of this quality and players of this quality in an arena where they have such an incredible record in non-conference play,” Turner said. “It’s special for us and I’m grateful.”

Oregon played without transfer guards Brennan Rigsby and Jermaine Couisnard, who are out indefinitely through injuries. It equaled the largest non-conference home game loss for the Ducks since a 67–54 loss to Virginia on December 18, 2011.

“A bad mental effort,” Altman said. “We didn’t show up. I wish I had something positive to say but really disappointed. The boys are disappointed. I’m disappointed. Was beaten from the start.”

UC Irvine extended a 35-22 lead at halftime and increased the lead when Bent Leuchten hit to open the second half and Devin Tillis added a three-pointer play to push the lead to 40-22 .

Dante grabbed a free throw to cut the lead to 42-26 with 18:03 left, but the Ducks couldn’t get much closer for the rest of the game.

UC Irvine built an early 12-4 lead before Oregon took a 18-17 lead after two free throws from Kel’el Ware 6-11 in the first half.

The Anteaters ended the halftime on an 18-5 run and held a 35-22 lead at halftime.

BIG PICTURE:

UC Irvine: The Anteaters improved to 2-0 with a couple of West Coast Conference teams in Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine before hosting Life Pacific. It’s likely that there won’t be another ranked opponent on UC Irvine’s schedule this year.

Oregon: The Ducks opened the season with a win over Florida A&M and are likely to start 3-0 with wins over UC Irvine and Montana State expected before the schedule gets tougher. Oregon’s non-conference schedule is midway filled with a home game against third-ranked Houston on Sunday, followed by a trip to the Phil Knight Invitational where they could face No. 1 North Carolina, No. 16 Villanova or No. 20 Alabama. After that, Oregon opens the Pac-12 game against Washington State and No. 8 UCLA before completing non-conference games against four non-power conference programs.

NEXT

UC Irvine: The Anteaters host Loyola Marymount on Tuesday.

Oregon: The Ducks are staying home for a game against Montana State on Tuesday.

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