The No. 14 Ducks (5-0) tipped off at Matthew Knight Arena against Pacific (4-1) for the first of three games at the Global Sports Hardwood Challenge. They faced a Pacific team that held a No. 15 seed in the tournament last year and posed five starting seniors.
The Ducks got off to yet another slow start in the first half. In addition to giving up four early three-pointers, the Ducks also trailed 13-3 just four minutes into the half.
The Ducks simply could not figure out a way to disrupt the Tigers’ zone early on and it led to a dismal 37 percent shooting performance for Oregon at the break.
“We just weren’t very good that first half,” Dana Altman said. “Because of that, we didn’t get any opportunities.”
But coming out of the break, the Ducks looked like an entirely new team. Following a rare seven-point possession by Joseph Young four minutes into the half, which was sparked by an and-one finish at the rim on an intentional foul, the Ducks went on a 20-0 run to take a 52-40 lead midway through the half. Young accounted for nine of those points during that run.
“For the most part, the defense initiated our offense and once we got shots going, our energy level went way up and defensively we were a lot better,” Altman said. “A lot of it (the run) was offense, but they didn’t score.”
Like Altman said, the Ducks didn’t allow a field goal during those first 10 minutes. He described this run as the best stretch the Ducks have played all season long.
“I thought that first 10 minutes our board play was good, our ball movement was good and our communication defensively was good,” Altman said. “I thought that’s the best 10-minute stretch we’ve had against a really good team.”
Despite a late attempt by Pacific to cut the lead, the Ducks prevented them from coming any closer than 10 points. This eventually led to Oregon’s fifth-straight win of the year.
Leading the way for the Ducks today were Mike Moser and Johnathan Loyd. Moser finished with a game-high 19 points and four rebounds, while Loyd set a career-high for assists as well as tie for a Matthew Knight Arena record with 13. This was the most since Oregon played Oregon State in 2011.
“It’s all thanks to my teammates. They were all knocking shots down,” Loyd said. “I was just finding the open player and they were making them, so I got to thank them first.”
For Pacific, it was Trevin Harris and T.J. Wallace bringing in the points as both finished with 14 points. The Ducks held the Tigers’ leading scorer Sama Taku to just four points on 1-9 shooting.
The Ducks will now take the day off before returning to play tomorrow against North Dakota (2-1). Tip-off is set for a 3:30 p.m. start at Matthew Knight Arena.
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Follow Hayden Kim on Twitter @HayDayKim
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