Team Always Us lost to Autism Army in the second round of The Basketball Tournament 76-71 Monday. The loss comes after Always Us, made up of former Ducks basketball standouts, defeated the Peoria All-Stars Sunday 79-73.
In Sunday's game, Always Us looked sharp out of the gate in the first period, knocking down a triad of triples and taking a 17-12 lead in the first quarter. The team of Ducks had a rough second quarter, and the hometown All-Stars knotted the score at 30 at halftime.
Always Us used a strong offensive third quarter in which they outscored the All-Stars 30-15 to take a comfortable lead. It looked like the game was in reach leading up to the Elam Ending, but the All-Stars would make it interesting down the stretch.
The Elam Ending entails the two teams playing to a target score at the first whistle of the fourth quarter with up to four minutes left in the game. The target score is eight points more than the leading team's total, and the game ends once a team meets or exceeds the target amount.
At the crest of the Elam Ending, Always Us still led comfortably at 73-59, but the hometown squad went on a furious 14-4 run to bring the score to 77-73. With one point left to secure the victory, Dwayne Benjamin got the game-winning bucket with a putback slam off of Johnathan Loyd's missed floater.
Always Us was led by Benjamin and Mike Moser, who combined for 25 points, all in the second half. Moser, who returned to Oregon this spring as an assistant coach for the women's basketball program, led the team in scoring with 13 points while Benjamin provided 12 points.
Tajuan Porter, the Pac-12's career leader in three-point field goals, scored 11 points off the bench, while Casey Benson and Loyd each scored nine points.
In the second-round matchup against Autism Army, the Oregon alumni trailed early but enjoyed a solid second quarter to put them up 40-33 at the half. Paul White led the charge early, scoring 13 points and blocking three shots in the first 20 minutes.
Always Us once led by as many as 14 in the second half, but for the second game in a row, they squandered the lead quickly. Autism Army went on an absolute tear, using a 13-0 run in a matter of minutes to take a one-point lead into the fourth quarter.
The game was tight in the fourth quarter entering the Elam Ending, as the teams were tied at 68 with a bit over four minutes left. Always Us scored the first three points in the Elam Ending, but Autism Army finished off the Oregon alumni with a 8-0 run to seal the victory.
White led the team with 13 points — all in the first half. Loyd dropped 12 points and Benjamin logged 11.
Moser and Benjamin took to social media to express their gratitude for playing in the green and yellow once again.
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Benjamin hinted at a return to The Basketball Tournament next year, writing "this for sure will not be the last time."
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