In the second of a three day stretch of games, the Oregon Ducks(6-0) defeated North Dakota(2-3) 91-76 at Matthew Knight Arena in a game that looked decidedly different in the second half than the first half.
Despite the Ducks shaky start in the first couple minutes, missing their first five of six shots and turning the ball over twice, they quickly turned things around and fired on all cylinders for the duration of half one, led by Joseph Young.
Young repeatedly showed off an uncanny ability to maintain balance and coordination while avoiding the bodies and stretched arms of defenders. Young scored 12 of his 17 first half points on fast break acrobatic layups and the free throws that came with them. Young went over, around and through North Dakota defenders with ease. Jason Calliste contributed a slam dunk after breaking the legs of his defender with a wicked crossover and a three pointer within a few possessions. Calliste finished the game with 15 points and four assists.
“Joe’s easy to play with. The kid can score in any situation,” Mike Moser said.
In the first half, the Ducks shot 56% from the field and 43% from the three-point line while scoring 32 points in the paint. On the other side of the court, UO played stifling defense, allowing only 33% from the floor and zero made 3-pointers. The Ducks led 49-32 at the break.
Young commented on the Ducks hot start, “This game everyone was hyped. In warmups everyone was there, focused.”
The lone sore spot in the first half was the injury of Damyean Dotson.
“I think he turned his ankle a little bit. I think he will be okay. You don’t want to take any chances,” head coach Dana Altman said.
The second half however was not so successful for Oregon. North Dakota caught fire, especially guards Aaron Anderson and Troy Huff. After the break, Anderson scored 17 points on 7-9 shooting and hit 3-4 three pointers. Despite shooting a dismal 3-13 from the field in half one, Huff delivered for NDU in half two. The guard shot 5-12 from the field and scored 16 points.
The Ducks may have continued and even improved upon its hot shooting in half two(65% from the field), they shot 16 less times than in the first half. The cause? Oregon turned the ball over five more times and had eight less rebounds. NDU’s full court press wrecked havoc on the UO offense.
Altman commented on UO’s difficulty breaking the press.”Poor execution, we we’re out of position straight up and down. We haven’t been pressed this year but we’ve worked on it in practice, believe it or not.”
“The turnovers really took away from the performance and really bad turnovers(resulting from players) just trying stuff,” he added.
NDU ended up winning half two by two points, a moral victory for a squad that has some talent, but not enough athleticism to hang with Oregon for 48 minutes.
Other than Young, the Duck front court delivered the most noteworthy performances of the game. Moser helped the Ducks in a number of ways, stretching the defense with midrange jumpers, attacking the glass and finishing around the hoop. He finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds. Richard Amardi had a breakout game, scoring and rebounding proficiently.. The forward’s two highlight plays were a put back slam, and a layup where he showed skill and patience in the post, springing his defender in the air on a pump fake and then laying the ball through the nylon. Elgin Cook added a 10 and 10 double-double. In case you weren’t counting, that’s 33 rebounds between the three. Also, Moser and Cook were the first Ducks of the season to attain double digit rebounds.
Moser commented on the Ducks dominate rebounding effort. “That’s why us three are here. We were a great rebounding team last year, we are just trying to fill the void,” he said.
Oregon came out victorious but 20 turnovers left Young hungry to get better.
“We aren’t happy, but a win’s a win,” Young commented.