After going on a 13-0 run midway through the first half, the Oregon Ducks opened the game up and defeated the University of Texas-San Antonio 95-78. The Ducks improved to 6-1 on the season, shooting a season-high 63.3 percent from the field.
Transfer Arsalan Kazemi had his best game with the Ducks, scoring 20 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks and 5 steals.
Oregon was down 12-6 going into a timeout at the 16 minute mark of the first half. That would be the Roadrunners’ largest lead of the game. After the Ducks went into a timeout down 21-20, with UTSA starting out hot with 81 percent from the field off 9/11 shooting, they burst out to a 13-0 lead to make the score 33-21.
The Ducks would keep a double digit lead going into halftime 51-40. Coming out of the break, Dominic Artis had two scores and one assist on the Ducks first three possessions. UTSA cut the lead to 5 four minutes into the second half when Michael Hale III went down with an apparent ankle injury after an acrobatic layup. Hale had 18 points before missing the rest of the game. Hale’s injury was the turning point for UTSA as they struggled to score from then on, going scoreless for the next four minutes.
In that time period the Ducks went on a 12-4 run to put the game out of reach, shooting an unreal 72 percent in the second half and finishing the game with their largest lead of the game at 17. Artis had 10 points and 4 assists in the second half, and his 16 total points were a season high. Artis was able to get into the lane at will, with the ability to shoot or dish for an easy basket.
The Ducks dominated the undersized roadrunners inside with a 62-32 edge in the paint. The Ducks also turned 23 turnovers into 33 points on the night. Turnovers were key in sparking Oregon’s 13-0 run early.
“We got a few easy ones off our defense,” head coach Dana Altman said. “We just kind of turned it up a notch.”
A big reason for the forced turnovers was Kazemi’s effort.
“Arsalan (Kazemi) created a lot of havoc with his feet and his quick hands. I was really pleased with his effort,” Altman said.
When Kazemi committed to the Ducks in September, Altman expected great things from him.
“I knew when he decided to come he was going to make a tremendous impact on our team. He’s really bright. He’s picked up what we do pretty quickly. He’s a talented young man.” Altman said.
On the win, Kazemi said “I just try to do whatever my team needs me. If they want me to get rebounds I just go get it. I just try to help my team win the game and that’s the main reason I’m here.”
Kazemi makes an impact for the Ducks on the defensive end. And through the first half, the Ducks got better defensively in every segment in the half. In the first four minutes the Ducks had given up 14 points. In the second four minutes they gave up seven points and in the third four minute block the Ducks only gave up five points.
One source of displeasure for Altman on the night was the 18 turnovers the Ducks committed offensively. Altman credits this to the team trying to do too much offensively.
“We’ve gotta cut the turnovers down. We’ve gotta make simpler plays until everyone gets on the same page. We’re breaking in a lot of new guys – simple right now would be really good.” Altman said.
The Ducks take on the Arkansas Pine-Bluff Saturday 3:30 p.m. At Matthew Knight Arena.