Power outage disrupts game; Oregon prevails over N. Arizona
EUGENE, Ore. - Head Coach Kelly Graves received a pass at the top of the key from Northern Arizona coach Sue Darling, knocking down the three-pointer as the Oregon mascot fell at his feet.
A pick-up game featuring both coaches and the mascot was just one of the many halftime activities that occurred during a 91 minute power outage in Matt Knight Arena, which delayed the game between the Oregon Ducks and Northern Arizona Lumberjacks.
The Ducks were able to carry a 12-point halftime lead through the lengthy delay, holding on to beat the Lumberjacks 59-47.
In a low scoring game, Oregon managed to play stout defense and hold NAU to just 18 first half points on 8-29 shooting (27 percent).
Oregon forced 10 first half turnovers and finished the half on an 11-0 run to take a 30-18 lead into the break.
Then it all went black.
Both teams attempted to stay warm, shooting around for over an hour beneath the low lights powered by the back-up generator. But the fans slowly trickled out of the arena over the next hour and a half as the building waited to regain its power supply.
"We had no idea when we were going to be playing again, so we had to stay loose and try to keep our minds right," said freshman Lexi Bando, who finished with 16 points and four rebounds. "It was definitely a little difficult; thinking you are about to go play the second half, and end up waiting around for over an hour."
Once play finally resumed, the Ducks came out sluggish. Northern Arizona opened the half on a 21-10 run, cutting the 12-point halftime lead down to one with just over 10 minutes to play.
Oregon was able to regroup, and a three from Bando put the Ducks back up by 4. The three sparked the Oregon players, and the Ducks were able to build a double-digit lead that they carried through the final minutes of the game.
"Lexi Bando is a winner. That kid is used to making baskets in big games at big moments," said Head Coach Kelly Graves. "I'm comfortable with her shooting the ball at any time when we need a hoop."
"There's always that one shot," said forward Jillian Alleyne. "It just takes the team over the edge. It was not smooth sailing up until there, but that definitely gave us the edge that we needed."
Alleyne led all scorers with 20 points, and recorded her 49th career double-double. Her 15 rebounds gave her 999 for her career. The junior will be just the third player in UO history to reach the 1,000 mark, following in the footsteps of Bev Smith (1,362) and Alison Lang (1,151).
The game consisted of some sloppy play, with both teams turning the ball over nearly 20 times and neither team shooting over 33 percent.
"It wasn't a pretty game, all the way around," said Graves. "I give our team and their team a lot of credit for being able to come back out and have some kind of a semblance of a basketball game; mentally that's a difficult thing to do."
The Ducks improved to 5-3 with the win and will return to Matt Knight Arena to face Santa Clara on Thursday, December 18 at 6 p.m.