EUGENE, Ore. – Coming from behind to win is nothing new for Oregon.
The 17th-ranked Ducks had already rallied from double-figure deficits to win four games this season. They did it a fifth time Thursday night to overtake No. 16 Colorado 68-60 and move into a tie for the Pac-12 lead at 8-4. Both teams are also 19-6 overall.
Will Richardson scored 21 points, including 17 in the second half, as the Ducks came back from a 14-point deficit in the first half and 12 points in the second. They used a 12-0 run in the waning minutes to overtake and put away the Buffaloes.
The Buffaloes struggled when the Ducks increased their pressure in the second half to spark their rally. The Ducks not only had 12 steals but four times Colorado had shot-clock violations when it was stymied.
“Stuff like that just gets you going as a player and as a team,” Richardson said. “The crowd loves when you hustle. The crowd was amazing, one of the best of the year. Definitely got to thank the crowd.”
Colorado coach Tad Boyle felt “we got on our heels offensively. In the first half we attacked their pressure. In the second half, we didn’t attack their pressure.
“We beat (the Ducks) in Boulder because we took care of the ball. You can’t turn the ball over 18 times in this building and win.”
Richardson also had nine rebounds. Payton Pritchard added 15 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for the Ducks.
Evan Battey and D’Shawn Schwartz each had 14 points for Colorado.
“It’s extremely disappointing,” Boyle said of the loss. “This was for first place and now we’re back in the muck of it and we didn’t separate. We had an opportunity to do that.”
The Buffaloes went on a 20-0 run to build a 30-16 lead while the Ducks missed 11 consecutive field goal attempts and were called for a pair of charges.
“It didn’t look good there for a while,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “But the guys continued to grind it out and find a way.”
Colorado led 35-26 at halftime, shooting 48% from the field (14 for 29) after a cold start while the Ducks shot 32% in the opening half (10 for 31). Both teams finished at 39%
“We ran into that stretch there in the first half, we couldn’t get the press set, couldn’t get anything going,” Altman said. “Missed a lot of shots inside ... just didn’t finish. Got some steals and couldn’t finish.
“The second half, we really got it turned around.”
Oregon’s deficit was at 12 points before the Ducks rallied within 43-40 with 13 minutes left but Colorado answered with 3-pointers from Schwartz and Lucas Siewert to push the lead back to nine points.
The Ducks drew within two points at 51-49 and 55-53 and had possession but couldn’t convert until finally Richardson’s two free throws with 4:18 left knotted the game at 58-58.
Richardson then hit a 3-pointers for Oregon’s first lead since the opening minutes.
“We feel that we gave that game away,” Battey said. “It sucks but there’s nothing we can do about it now.”
This is the latest in a season that the Buffaloes have been atop their league since the 1968-69 season when they shared the Big Eight lead with Kansas. Colorado went on to win the conference title that year, it’s last regular-season championship.
Colorado was the seventh top 25 opponent this season for Oregon, the most since the Ducks played seven in the 2008-09 season. Oregon has only once played eight ranked opponents in the regular season, in 1994-95.
Colorado plays at Oregon State on Saturday looking for redemption for a home loss earlier this season.