Whatever it was, Oregon didn’t get off on the right foot against an opponent that should never have been a challenge. And thus, it was a challenge when the Ducks trailed the Sea Lions at halftime 37-35, and Oregon had to use much of the second half to close out a 68-52 victory.
“We played terrible,” senior guard Johnathan Loyd said. “Coach bit us a little bit in the locker room. The first half they shot 56 percent from the field, so our defense just wasn’t there.”
Point Loma nailed five three-pointers in the first half and went into the locker rooms with a highly unexpected lead. Meanwhile, Oregon was shooting 35 percent before the intermission.
But center Waverly Austin turned it on around halftime and finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and a pair of blocks. Joseph Young led the Ducks in scoring, with 21. Jason Calliste had a couple of three-pointers of his own, finishing with 8, and post players Elgin Cook and Richard Amardi both finished with 6.
Oregon was missing the talents of Damyean Dotson, Mike Moser and Jalil Abdul-Bassit to minor injuries. Dotson and Moser both started last week vs. Northwest Christian, so their absences were very key to Oregon’s struggles.
The Ducks aren’t going to blame the injuries for the scare, though.
“Stuff happens during the season,” Loyd said. “People get hurt, people can’t play. You’ve got to run with what you’ve got. We’re all D-I basketball players, we all can play the game. We’ve got to step up.”
Loyd finished with 3 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.
The Ducks take to the air this week as their true season opener is against Georgetown in Camp Humphreys, South Korea this Friday.
“We’ve got a long way to go to get ready for next Friday,” said head coach Dana Altman. “We didn’t run the floor consistently and in the first half our defense didn’t have a lot of communication. I thought we did a much better job in the second half.”