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USC basketball: After deadline in Eugene, Ore.

January 13, 2011 | 11:54 pm


Just wrapping up here at Oregon's brand-spanking new, $200-million Matthew Knight Arena, where the Ducks gave the sellout crowd of 12,364 a 68-62 win against USC on Thursday night to start the building off right.

Here are some postgame quotes that help tell the tale: 

USC Coach Kevin O'Neill on the new arena:

"It's a nice arena. Two-hundred million dollars gets you a nice arena."

O'Neill on being unable to overcome a 20-point deficit, which USC eventually cut to five points late in the game:

"We had two key turnovers in a one-possession game. When we're coming back in those situations, we need to be perfect down the stretch, and we weren't perfect."

On the noise level, which, believe me, was pretty loud, conjuring memories of McArthur Court, the Ducks' home for 84 years until Thursday:

"Crowd noise had nothing to do with it. . . . If it did, we are in the wrong sport in the wrong league."

USC senior guard Marcus Simmons on his critical turnover with 1:01 left and the Trojans trailing, 65-61: 

"It was my fault. I made a really bad decision. I dragged my foot."

USC senior forward Alex Stepheson on USC's failed comeback:

"We made a good run at the end, but we shouldn't have been that down to begin with."

Oregon Coach Dana Altman on the atmosphere of the new arena:

"It was a really fun night for everyone, I hope. Students and fans were unbelievable. It was a great way to start a new era in a new arena."

On getting 31 points from the bench (Oregon's bench outscored USC's, 31-16, for the game, including 17-0 in the second half):

"Tyrone (Nared, who scored 11 points) really stepped up. His athleticism gives us a boost."

Altman on the night:

"This game meant so much to so many people. A lot of people have poured their heart and soul into this building."

Nike co-founder and Oregon alum Phil Knight, who helped fund about half of the cost of Matthew Knight Arena, which is named after his late son:

"There's emotion in the building, and I hope it carries forward. And the main emotion I hope carries forward is joy."

Knight on the unusual design on Kilkenny Floor, which has "Deep in the Woods" enscribed on the court:

"When Dana gets a couple recruiting classes, those teams will know they're 'Deep in the Woods.' "

And just for the history buffs, here's some firsts for Matthew Knight Arena:

First points: Oregon's Garrett Sim, a two-point jumper

First rebound: Oregon's Jeremy Jacob

First assist: Oregon's Jay-R Strowbridge

First steal: USC's Maurice Jones

First blocked shot: USC's Nikola Vucevic

First three-pointer: Nared

First Dunk: Nared

-- Baxter Holmes, reporting from Eugene, Ore.  

Photo: USC takes on Oregon in the debut of Matthew Knight Arena on Thursday night in Eugene, Ore. Credit: Steve Dykes /Getty Images