The smallest man on the court packed the biggest punch.
Whenever Oregon needed a big play down the stretch, it turned to starting point guard Johnathan Loyd and got the ball in his hands. Generously listed at 5-foot-8 on GoDucks.com, Loyd played his best in the overtime period, scoring eight points in the final 2:33 of the game to lead Oregon to a 115-105 victory over Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss.
Overall, Loyd was one of two Ducks with a double-double in the game as he scored 23 points and added a career-high 15 assists while Mike Moser finished with 24 points (22 coming after halftime) and 10 rebounds.
Six of the seven Ducks who scored in the game put up at least 10 points with Joseph Young adding 19, Elgin Cook with 14, Damyean Dotson finishing with 13 and Jason Calliste with 10.
Ole Miss gave Oregon everything it could handle, coming back from being down six in the final minute of regulation to having a chance to win it at the end. With 11 seconds in regulation, Marshall Henderson, who scored a career-high 39 points, hit a three-pointer to cut the Oregon lead to 88-86. Loyd was immediately fouled and sent to the foul line but only made one of two free throws, keeping the Rebels within striking distance. Then, with .08 seconds left on the clock, Jarvis Summers hit a three-pointer over Loyd to send the game into overtime.
Fifteen seconds into the overtime period, Young notched a steal and layup, but the lead was short-lived for Oregon as Derrick Millinghaus knocked down a three-pointer, putting the Rebels back in front.
After a Young missed shot, Henderson went 1-for-2 from the line. Ole Miss lead by two in the raucous Tad Smith Coliseum. Then, the momentum violently shifted Oregon’s way. The Ducks went on an 11-0 run to take a commanding 102-93 lead with 1:09 to play. Moser contributed four points over that span while Young knocked down a big three-pointer off a Cook steal.
Ole Miss kept fighting, knocking down three three-pointers in the final minute, but the Ducks went 13-for-14 from the free throw line during that stretch to clinch the game.
“We dug in and fought hard. They made some shots and that’s adversity but we fought through it,” Loyd said in his postgame interview with ESPNU after the game. “This is a hostile environment. We fought through a lot of hostility but it can’t get any worse than this.”
The game began well for Ole Miss with the Rebels taking the early 7-2 lead just over two minutes into the game, but Oregon respond with a 19-9 run over the next seven minutes to take its first lead of the game at 18-16, the final three points coming on a three-pointer by Calliste.
The Rebels regained the lead, 24-23, just prior to the seven-minute mark and would extend the lead to four on a Henderson three-pointer, one of his 10 made threes, but the Ducks cut the deficit to one heading into halftime.
The second half began with teams exchanging baskets and the Rebels’ lead never growing to more than five points. Trailing by four at the eight-minute mark, the Ducks went on a 12-4 run over the next three-and-a-half minutes to take a 72-68 lead.
Oregon added to that lead and was up 88-83 before Henderson and Jarvis’ three-pointers sent the game into OT. Henderson nearly connected on a buzzer-beating three directly after Jarvis’ make with .08 left (the Ducks turned over the ball over on the inbound pass following Jarvis’ game-tying shot), but the Ducks escaped the scare.
The Ducks have the week off from games in order to take care of business in the classroom with finals week ahead. They return to action Saturday, Dec. 14 when they play Illinois at the Moda Center in Portland. Tip-off is at 6 p.m.
Follow Ryan Kostecka on Twitter @Ryan_Kostecka