Oregon hands No. 4 Arizona first loss; No. 9 Gonzaga holds off Saint Mary's

Oregon's E.J. Singler (25) celebrates as Arizona's Nick Johnson (13) walks downcourt after a turnover went to Oregon late in the second half of their NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, in Eugene, Ore. Oregon won 70-66. AP Photo/Chris Pietsch

EUGENE, Ore. After racking up victories against mostly inferior opponents, Oregon finally got a signature win.

Led by the all-around efforts of senior E.J. Singler and some early resiliency, the Ducks handed No. 4 Arizona its first loss of the season with a 70-66 victory Thursday night.

Singler had 14 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals for Oregon (13-2, 2-0 Pac-12), which overcame an 11-0 deficit to lead for the final 27:32. The Ducks ran their home winning streak to 17 games, including all 11 this season.

"I think we've been playing really well the whole season," Singler said. "I think we're a really good team. This game really showed our team we can compete with a lot of different people."

Dominic Artis, Carlos Emory and Tony Woods had 10 points apiece for Oregon.

Mark Lyons scored 21 and Solomon Hill added 16 points to lead the Wildcats (14-1, 2-1), who entered as one of three undefeated teams in the country.

"We obviously want to win every game, but we know it's not a perfect world," Nick Johnson said. "It definitely hurts because we know we let one slip away with our defense and our execution and stuff like that."

The Wildcats didn't go quietly. Trailing 67-55 with under 3 minutes to play, Arizona mounted one last rally.

Lyons made a 3-pointer, Johnson followed with a layup and Lyons drained another 3 while falling backward to cut it to 67-63 with 1:18 to go.

Free throws by Singler and another 3-pointer by Johnson made it 69-66 with 50 seconds left.

Artis missed a shot late in the Ducks' ensuing possession and Johnson was making his way up the court when Johnathan Loyd caught him from behind and stole the ball with 10 seconds left.

Loyd was fouled and made one of two free throws to seal it.

It was the Ducks' second win against a ranked team this season. They beat No. 24 UNLV in November. Their only losses are to No. 21 Cincinnati and in triple overtime at UTEP.

No. 9 Gonzaga holds off Saint Mary's 83-78

SPOKANE, Wash. If close wins build character, No. 9 Gonzaga has all it needs by now.

Kelly Olynyk, who was voted CBSSports.com's most improved player at midseason, scored 31 points and the Bulldogs held off a furious comeback by Saint Mary's to win 83-78 on Thursday night in the latest installment of one of the best rivalries on the West Coast.

"It would be nice to get some 30- or 40-point blowouts," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "We've been in enough close games."

Kevin Pangos added 22 points for Gonzaga (16-1, 3-0 West Coast Conference), which has won seven straight since losing at home to Illinois.

"They've done a heck of a job to get to 16-1," Few said of his team. "We've had emotional game after emotional game after emotional game."

It was Olynyk's second consecutive 30-point game, the first time a Gonzaga player has done that since Adam Morrison in 2006.

Stephen Holt led Saint Mary's (12-4, 1-1) with 23 points.

No. 22 Michigan State holds off Iowa 62-59

IOWA CITY, Iowa Keith Appling's four crucial free throws Thursday night weren't nearly as exciting as his late basket in Michigan State's win over Kansas back in November.

Still, Appling showed why the little things make all the difference between winning and losing on the road in the Big Ten.

Branden Dawson scored a career-high 17 points, including a late steal and tiebreaking dunk, and Appling went 4 for 4 from the line in the final 20 seconds as the 22nd-ranked Spartans sneaked past Iowa 62-59.

Gary Harris added 14 points despite hurting his left shoulder in the first half for the Spartans (13-3, 2-1), who hung on for their eighth win in nine games.

"There's a lot of things we need to get better at. But that was a big win on the road, especially the way we played," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.

Dawson provided the game-changing play when he ripped the ball away from Iowa freshman Mike Gesell and gave Michigan State a 58-56 lead with 49 seconds left.

But Appling, whose acrobatic layup with 14 seconds left beat the Jayhawks two months ago, provided the buffer with four straight from the foul line.

Comments