Singler Settles It With 2 Seconds Left
Final Score: Oregon 71 Creighton 69
Medford, OR, native E.J. Singler's brother Kyle is the most well known member of the clan, due to his exploits at Duke, but E.J. came up with the big play, hitting the game winning shot for Oregon in the CBI Tournament Finals Friday night with 2 seconds left in what had been one of the most closely contested games of the season.
The Ducks claimed the deciding game of the best of three CBI Finals over Creighton (23-16) of the Missouri Valley Conference.
Oregon finished the year 21-18, and became the second Pac-10 team in three years to win the CBI, joining Oregon St.
The Ducks controlled the first 15 minutes of the game,as Singler scored the game's first 5 points, and Oregon opened an 8 point lead on a couple of occasions. Creighton battled back into it, and took their first lead, 30-29 two minutes before halftime on back to back Antoine Young baskets.
Tyronne Nared's free throws gave Oregon back a 31-30 lead, which carried into the break, as neither team scored for nearly two minutes at the end of the first half.
The Blue Jays roared out of the locker room after half time, with a 6-0 run in the first minute, capped by Doug McDermott's three pointer, giving Creighton their biggest lead of the game, 36-31.
Joevan Catron answered for Oregon, only to see Young open another 5 point lead for Creighton. Singler scored in response, and over the last 17:30 of the game, the teams would never be separated by more than three points again.
Jay R Strowbridge's basket with just under 4 minutes left put Oregon ahead 64-61, but Creighton's Gregory Echenique bracketed a Joevan Catron basket with a pair of free throws and a dunk, putting the Blue Jays ahead 69-67 with 46 seconds left.
Garrett Sim, silent all night, came up with his only basket of the game for Oregon with 34 seconds left to tie the score, and Creighton used a timeout to setup what they planned to be the tournament winning shot.
But Young would turn the ball over, stepping back over the nearly invisible mid-court line while dribbling away time waiting to run their play as the clock ran down. And so it was Oregon that worked the game down to the two second point, when Singler's shot finally settled the matter.
Catron, in his final game as a Duck, went out with a huge night, hitting 11 of 17 shots, and pouring in a game high 29 points in front of 9,335 fans, most of which approved highly. Young finished with 21 to lead Creighton.
Singler was the only other Duck in double digits, finishing with 15 points. But Oregon Coach Dana Altman, who was at Creighton before coming to Eugene this year, got production from a half dozen other Ducks, and still found his go to guys, Catron, Simm, and Singler for their last three baskets, and an emotional win.
Strowbridge, Oregon's other senior along with Catron, finished his career with 7 points in the game, but went out with Catron having a hand in the win that will hang the first banner in Matthew Knight Arena.
McDermott finished with 13 points for Creighton, and Echenique added 12 more.
The win made Oregon the fifth Pac-10 team to win at least 21 games this season.