Davis helps UC Irvine shock No. 21 Oregon

Nov 11, 2022, 8:22 AM | Updated: Nov 12, 2022, 9:51 am
UC Irvine players celebrate after defeating No. 21 Oregon 69-56 in an NCAA college basketball game ...

UC Irvine players celebrate after defeating No. 21 Oregon 69-56 in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Andy Nelson)

(AP Photo/Andy Nelson)

              UC Irvine center Bent Leuchten (15) defends against Oregon center N'Faly Dante during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Andy Nelson)
            
              UC Irvine forward Chazz Hutchison (5) reacts with guard Justin Hohn (2) and the rest of the UC Irvine bench Hutchison was fouled on a shot during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game Oregon on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Andy Nelson)
            
              UC Irvine guard DJ Davis (22) drives past Oregon center Kel'el Ware (10) for a score during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Andy Nelson)
            
              UC Irvine guard DJ Davis (22) celebrates with guard Emilis Butkus (23) and guard Ofure Ujadughele (10) after UC Irvine defeated No. 21 Oregon 69-56 in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Andy Nelson)
            
              UC Irvine players celebrate after defeating No. 21 Oregon 69-56 in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Andy Nelson)

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — DJ Davis scored 24 points, hitting 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), which is picked to finish fourth in the Big West Conference this season. The Anteaters made 12-of-28 3-pointers.

“Credit the guys in our locker room, they believed they could come in and compete and it is hard to generate that all the time, but we have a winning tradition,” UC Irvine coach Russell Turner said. “They had some guys out and it is not easy to play us early in the year, I know that. Give them credit for taking this game, it was a big deal for us to get an opportunity to come in here and play. This was a hell of an opportunity for us to play a team of their quality. We don’t take this for granted.”

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

“We got beat in every facet of the game,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “Hustle, toughness, a number of our practices resembled that and I was fearful that at some point in time that might come. They 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 beat a ranked team in the regular season was over No. 20 Stanford in 2003.

“It is meaningful, unquestionably, to beat a program of this quality and players of this quality in an arena where they have such an unbelievable record in nonconference play,” Turner said. “It is special for us and I am grateful.”

Oregon played without transfer guards Brennan Rigsby and Jermaine Couisnard, who are out indefinitely due to injury. It matched the largest margin of defeat in a nonconference home game for the Ducks since a 67-54 loss to Virginia on Dec. 18, 2011.

“A poor mental effort,” Altman said. “We didn’t compete. I wish I had something positive to say, but really disappointed. The guys are disappointed. I’m disappointed. Got punched right from the start.”

UC Irvine built a 35-22 lead at halftime and stretched the margin when Bent Leuchten scored to open the second half and Devin Tillis added a three-point play to push the lead to 40-22.

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

UC Irvine built an early 12-4 lead before Oregon took an 18-17 lead on two free throws by Kel’el Ware with 6:11 left in the first half.

The Anteaters closed out the half with a 18-5 run to take a 35-22 lead at the half.

BIG PICTURE:

UC Irvine: The Anteaters improved to 2-0 with a couple West Coast Conference teams ahead in Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine before hosting Life Pacific. There is not likely another ranked opponent on UC Irvine’s schedule this year.

Oregon: The Ducks opened the season with a win over Florida A&M and looked likely to start 3-0 with wins expected over UC Irvine and Montana State before the schedule gets tougher. Oregon’s nonconference schedule is loaded in the middle 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 Pac-12 play against Washington State and No. 8 UCLA before wrapping up nonconference games against four non-power conference programs.

UP NEXT

UC Irvine: The Anteaters host Loyola Marymount on Tuesday.

Oregon: The Ducks stay home to face Montana State on Tuesday.

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