Oregon outlasts UC Irvine in overtime
EUGENE — Dwayne Benjamin scored 18 points and Joseph Young hit an insurance 3-pointer late in overtime to lead Oregon to a 69-67 victory over UC Irvine on Monday night.
Dillon Brooks added 15 points and Elgin Cook had 14 for the Ducks (10-3), who closed out their nonconference schedule with their second straight overtime win. Alex Young led the Anteaters (6-6) with 12 points, and Travis Souza and Jaron Martin added 11 each.
After Brooks made 1 of 2 free throws with 5.4 seconds left for the final point, Young had a shot at the win, but his pull-up 3 was long at the buzzer.
Benjamin helped force overtime when his corner 3-pointer with 7.6 seconds left in regulation tied the score at 57. It was Oregon's fifth 3 of the game and its fourth of the second half.
Young made the Ducks' final 3 with 23.4 seconds left in overtime to put them up 68-64 before Souza's 3 cut the margin to one with 6.0 seconds to play.
Alex Young, the Oregon Class 4A prep player of the year when he led Phoenix High to the 2011 state championship, scored the last four points of the first half to close out a 9-0 run for the Anteaters. He led the team with 12 points.
His six assists gave him 349 for his career, fourth best in UC Irvine history.
UC Irvine led by as many as 11 points early in the second half and was still ahead 49-44 with 7:09 left in regulation before Oregon mounted its first comeback. After the Ducks briefly regained the lead, the Anteaters used a 6-0 run to go up by five again at 55-50.
However, UC Irvine's scored only two more points in the final 3 ½ minutes of regulation as the Ducks fought back from several late turnovers for the tie on two 3s by Benjamin sandwiched around a Cook free throw.
Oregon opened the game with a 9-2 burst as the Anteaters missed eight of their first nine shots before the first timeout. That's when UC Irvine coach Russell Turner put his team into a 2-3 zone defense that befuddled the Ducks for the rest of the half.
While the Anteaters were going 13 of 17 from the field over the final 15 minutes of the half, Oregon was just 8 of 23, including 0 of 5 from 3-point range. UC Irvine took its first lead at 17-16 on John Ryan's layup at the 7:46 mark.
The Ducks' last lead of the half was 26-24 on a reverse dunk by Benjamin, who leaked behind the Anteater defense to take Casey Benson's lob pass on one of the few plays that worked for Oregon before the break with UC Irvine leading 33-26.
The Ducks bring the longest winning streak into the start of Pac-12 Conference play, which starts Friday, at five. Oregon hosts its first three Pac-12 games to close out a seven-game home stand.
UC Irvine hosts Hampden-Sydney on Wednesday.
Oregon hosts Oregon State on Saturday.