Shelstad’s Three Beats Michigan In OT

EUGENE, Ore.When he was growing up in West Linn, Jackson Shelstad dreamed of hitting big shots for the Oregon men’s basketball team. Saturday afternoon, in the freshman’s first career start for the Ducks, his dream became reality.

Shelstad hit a deep three-pointer with less than 2 seconds left in overtime to give the UO men an 86-83 victory over Michigan before 11,241 fans in Matthew Knight Arena. Four years after fellow West Linn native Payton Pritchard — also an Oregon point guard who wore No. 3 — scored 15 of the Ducks’ last 17 points in an overtime win at Michigan, Shelstad created his own clutch memory against the Wolverines.

“That is like a dream I’ve had, hitting buzzer-beaters or game-winners like that for my dream school: Oregon,” said Shelstad, who also opened the scoring Saturday with a three-pointer and finished with 14 points. “So it was a special moment.”

Playing without four injured scholarship players, including big men N’Faly Dante and Nate Bittle, the Ducks leaned on their guards for scoring and went 10-of-16 from three-point range. Brennan Rigsby had 19 points with a trio of three-pointers, Jermaine Couisnard also connected three times from behind the arc to finish with 13 points, and Kario Oquendo had 13 points including two free throws to help force overtime.

“We could have made it a little easier on ourselves in overtime,” said UO coach Dana Altman, whose team missed three free throws in the extra period. “… But we found a way. At this particular time, with this ball team, finding a way is really important.”

How It Happened: After missing a potential game-winner at the end of regulation, Shelstad got his redemption in overtime. At first it appeared the ending would lack drama, as Oregon scored the first five points of overtime to lead 78-73. But Michigan answered with five of its own to tie it again, before a three from Couisnard made it 81-78 with 2:04 to go.

The Wolverines answered with a three, Oregon retook the lead with 47 seconds to go on a dunk by Mahamadou Diawara, and Michigan forged the game’s ninth and final tie at 83-83 with 25 seconds left. Couisnard had the ball at the top of the three-point arc to begin Oregon’s final possession, then passed to Shelstad, who pulled up from about 26 feet out and drilled the winner.

“It was a little deeper than I wanted,” Altman said. “But he hit it.”

Shelstad’s winner helped Oregon overcome a 33-point performance by Michigan’s Dug McDaniel, who shot the Wolverines back into the game in the second half. He hit four three-pointers in the first 5 minutes after halftime, giving the Wolverines a 50-45 lead. An 8-0 run for the Ducks all provided by Rigsby put them in front 55-52, but McDaniel hit yet another three to cap a 7-0 run by Michigan in response.

But the momentum swung again as Oregon scored seven straight, and a three from Couisnard moments later made it 65-61. A basket by Diawara with 3:26 left in regulation made it 71-67 — but that would be the Ducks’ final field goal until overtime. McDaniel scored to make it a two-point game, then hit yet another three for a 72-71 lead.

It was 73-71 when Oquendo hit two free throws to tie it up with 15 seconds left. Jadrian Tracey then stripped McDaniel with 11 seconds to go, and though Shelstad and Rigsby missed shots in the final 5 seconds, the Ducks had at least forced overtime.

“I thought our press gave them some things to think about,” Altman said. “That last play (the steal by Tracey) was big. We gave ourselves a chance to win — and more importantly, they didn’t have a chance to win. McDaniel had his way with us, so putting the ball in his hands for that last one wouldn’t have been a lot of fun.”

The fireworks from Shelstad and McDaniel started early, with each hitting a three for his team’s first points of the game. Michigan led 19-16 midway through the first half, when the Ducks went on a 10-2 run capped by a layup from Oquendo to take the lead. Oquendo then scored the Ducks’ final six points of the first half, including a putback before the buzzer.

That gave Oregon a 38-35 lead after the first half, in which they were 4-of-5 from three-point range and had just five turnovers to survive being outrebounded 20-14 in the absence of of the injured big men.

“I think we’re all very capable shooters,” said Rigsby, whose shooting was complemented Saturday by a couple of thunderous dunks. “Everybody can shoot the ball well. But I don’t think it’s all about the perimeter. It’s about making the right basketball plays. Today, that ended up being a lot of three-point shots, and people were hitting them.”

Notable: The Ducks were without not only Dante and Bittle, but also guard Jesse Zarzuela, a five-game starter who was in a walking boot on the bench. Freshman Mookie Cook also has yet to play due to injury this season. … Given those injuries, James Cooper again was called on to provide some minutes, and he contributed a putback basket during the 10-2 run that gave Oregon the lead in the first half. … Saturday’s crowd was the largest for the Ducks since the 2018-19 season finale.

“The fans were great today, and they were the difference in the game,” Altman said. “The atmosphere in there was really good. … I think when Mr. Knight and Penny donated the money (for Matthew Knight Arena), this is what they envisioned.”

Up Next: The Ducks host Texas-El Paso in Matthew Knight Arena next Saturday (6 p.m., Pac-12 Network).