duck basketball

5 Star Recruit Tyler Dorsey Committed to Ducks but Won’t Sign LOI

5-Star Oregon basketball commit Tyler Dorsey continued a recent trend of elite high school athletes not signing Letters of Intent (LOI). Dorsey told The Oregonian he is 100% committed to Oregon but will not be signing a LOI. The Oregonian’s Andrew Nemec reported...

Dana Altman Speaks on Rape Allegations

Following Friday morning’s press conference with University of Oregon administrators, head men’s basketball coach Dana Altman met with the media to discuss the rape allegations surrounding Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin.

Dotson, Artis and Austin have all been kicked off the team and will not be back next season. Athletic Director Rob Mullens said Friday morning that Altman will remain Oregon’s head coach. You can watch the press conference with Mullens, university President Michael Gottfredson and Vice President of Student Affairs Robin Holmes here.

Watch Altman’s full press conference above.

Mike Moser and the Evolution of the Transfer Power Forwards

As Mike Moser has caught fire, the Oregon Ducks have surged to six straight wins.

The senior from Portland is coming off a series against the Southern California schools where he hit another gear, averaging 16 points, 16 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game.  On top of that, Moser was named as both the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Week and Athlon’s National Player of the Week for his play during the two season-saving wins.

Oregon's current winning streak began against the Washington schools.

Oregon’s current winning streak began against the Washington schools.

Now, heading into the final regular season game of the season, the Ducks will likely need another big game from the former UCLA and UNLV player.  But for Oregon in recent years, relying on transfer power forwards is really nothing new.  In fact, the importance of their role has seemingly increased during each season under Dana Altman.

Let’s take a look at how these transfers have fared year by year:

’09 – ’10 Jeremy Jacob (6-foot-8, 225 pounds)
32 games/15 starts/20.3 mpg/.459 FG/.705 FT/153 Rebounds/241 points/4 asst/6 blk/7 stl/33 TO

Jeremy Jacob spent three seasons in Eugene, but none were more productive than his first.  Jacob was an above average rebounder and reliable at the line, but was limited on both ends of the court — perhaps mostly on the defensive end, as his block and steal numbers, especially, suggest little defensive contribution over a full season.

’10 – ’11 Tyrone Nared (6-foot-8, 210 pounds)
32 games/21 starts/20.0 mpg/.455 FG/.695 FT/153 Rebounds/195 points/17 asst/30 blk/24 stl/41 TO

Tyrone Nared played with effort was fun to watch.  While not the most prolific scorer, he could get hot and even knock down the occasional three.  His game was fairly well-rounded, as his rebounding total matched Jacobs’ exactly, but he was also able to record far more assists, blocks and steals from the power forward spot.

’11 – ’12 Olu Ashaolu (6-foot-7, 220 pounds)
34 games/10 starts/20.1 mpg/.565 FG/.535 FT/177 Rebounds/314 points/26 asst/15 blk/16 stl/55 TO

Olu’s presence marked a little bit different type of athlete than Altman had signed previously.

Arsalan Kazemi could rebound as well or better than any Duck ever has.

Arsalan Kazemi could rebound as well or better than any Duck ever has.

While he didn’t get the same number of starts as Jacob or Nared, Ashaolu was able to corral more rebounds and score more points.  Olu was a physical presence down low, with a nasty drop-step dunk move that was never on display more clearly than when he used the move to ultimately jump completely over a Utah defender — a play that might be among the best dunks ever inside Matthew Knight Arena.

’12 – ’13 Arsalan Kazemi (6-foot-7, 226 pounds)
35 games/27 starts/29.0 mpg/.595 FG/.675 FT/350 Rebounds/328 points/48 asst/23 blk/71 stl/52 TO

Every basketball team wishes they had a player like Kazemi.  Selfless and athletic, Arsalan excelled on the defensive end of the floor, headlined by his 71 steals, and he had more rebounds than Jacob and Nared combined, and nearly twice the number of total rebounds as Ashaolu.  For a player that often flat-out refused to shoot the ball, 328 points is pretty significant.

’13 – ’14 Mike Moser (6-foot-8, 211 pounds)
28 games/28 starts/25.9 mpg/.463 FG (47 3-pointers)/.745 FT/219 Rebounds/375 points/51 asst/25 blk/40 stl/49 TO

Perhaps the most complete player of all of five listed here, Moser combines a knack for rebounding and defense with a polished offensive game.  His 47 three-pointers are 36 more than Nared, who is in second place in that category — and with a few games left to play, Mike will only add to his totals.

Statistics aside, what the multi-faceted game of Moser brings to the floor is a big part of what makes this Oregon team so dangerous in a tournament setting.  Tell me again why he didn’t sign with the Ducks out of high school? Had he done so, he would have graduated a few years ago, but would have likely done so as one of the all-time greats. The way things are, he is among the best one-year players ever at Oregon.

Moser skies for a jump ball vs his former team.

Moser skies for a jump ball vs his former team.

Mike Moser really turned some heads recently when he pulled down 20 rebounds against UCLA, which tied him with the great Greg Ballard for most ever at U of O. Matching a mark like that has already etched his name in Oregon basketball history, and the ending of this season still has yet to be written.

Due in large part to Moser’s play down the stretch, an invite to the Big Dance is still in the picture.  The team has very few more opportunities to show they belong, but the matchup tomorrow against No. 3 Arizona is the last best chance of proving so.

Top Photo by Craig Strobeck

It’s Time For Oregon Men’s Basketball To Get National Respect

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Ever since the Associated Press Poll results came back after Oregon’s come-from-behind overtime win over Ole Miss, I’ve noticed something. Though the Ducks have been outperforming all pre-season expectations, and recently welcomed back stars Dominic Artis and Ben Carter from suspensions with the team unscathed by losses, there’s seemed to be an invisible barrier between Eugene’s Webfoots and the rest of the nation’s elite.

A glass ceiling, if you will.

Ducks Forward Richard Amardi
Duck forward Richard Amardi tries for a layup in Tuesday’s game against the UC Irvine Anteaters. (Don Olson/Fishduck.com)

Minus key players, the 11-0 Ducks have only failed to reach 80 or more points twice and never scored fewer than 69 in their first nine appearances. Now that they have Artis and Carter back in the roster, the only remaining question becomes how the team will reintroduce the two.

After all, there’s no question the team can put points on the board. Joseph Young has been called un-guardable by the Ducks’ do-everything forward Mike Moser. The two have been sheer forces within and outside of the 3-point line. Young’s greatest contribution will likely be thanks to a new rule this fall in the NCAA, which has greatly increased the rate of free throws in games this year.

Young’s ability to attack the interior on offense forces opposing defenders to handcheck his drives at the basket more forcefully — leading to him shooting 6.6 free throws per game this season. So far, that’s 1.6 more trips to the line per game than he earned a year ago when he played more minutes per game.

Moser’s scoring — seemingly more important when Young’s eligibility was in question — has taken a backseat to his rebounding. The Grant High (Portland, Ore.) alumnus leads the Ducks in rebounds with 7.6 per game.

Duck guard Joseph Young battles in the post with UC Irvine's Goliath 7-foot-6 center Mamadou Ndiaye.  (Don Olson/Fishduck.com)
Duck guard Joseph Young battles in the post with UC Irvine’s Goliath 7-foot-6 center Mamadou Ndiaye. (Don Olson/Fishduck.com)

These two will have a lot to say about the upcoming Pac-12 conference race; however, while they’ll command the headlines and attention, it’s Oregon’s overall scoring depth that commands respect. Six Ducks are scoring at least 10 points per game and the suddenly enhanced guard depth is looking good spacing the floor.

The AP voters corrected the original mistake of dropping an undefeated, surging and ultimately fun school two spots after winning a road game. Now, it’s time for the AP voters to correct one more time.

Hey mid-American AP voters. We haven’t talked in a while, I know, but I think you needed to hear from someone on the west coast. There’s enough of you giving Duke, Baylor and Wichita State high placements that Oregon is currently ranked 13th behind several teams with more losses and less depth.

Duke has more name recognition and a little guy named Jabari Parker. Baylor has shiny uniforms. But Oregon has looked like one of the best scoring teams in college basketball, and now adds to that.

I’m not arguing that Oregon is a top-5 team yet. The team needs to prove it can play good team defense and rebound at a higher level before that happens. Ben Carter will help with that. Just win the games you need to win, and you’ll be properly ranked; lose and none of this matters. I get that. There’s a lot of season left and a lot of this should sort itself out.

Should, though, that’s a fun word. What happens, for instance, if Oregon takes care of its business and ends the season with less than 3 wins, but so do 9 or 10 other teams? If the opinion of the majority stays as it is, the Ducks might get barred from the elite seeds in March Madness.

We’ve seen this happen before to a recent Oregon team. Last year’s team stumbled backward into the NCAA tournament; however, with a statement win in the Pac-12 tournament, the Ducks were seeded at No. 12 with some of the overachieving mid-major schools. It ended up being a blessing in disguise as the underrated Ducks ravaged their slightly overrated foes.

Duck forward Ben Carter tries a layup against November exhibition opponent Point Loma. Carter played his first regular season game with the team on Tuesday after serving a nine-game suspension for violation of NCAA rules. (Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)
Duck forward Ben Carter tries a layup against November exhibition opponent Point Loma. Carter played his first regular season game with the team on Tuesday after serving a nine-game suspension for violation of NCAA rules. (Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)

But that really shouldn’t happen this year. With Artis and Carter back on board, the team boasts two legit groups of five that could best many starters in the country.

1: Dominic Artis, Joseph Young, Damyean Dotson, Mike Moser, Ben Carter

2: Johnathan Loyd, Jason Calliste, Jalil Abdul-Bassit, Elgin Cook, Richard Amardi

Both groups have proven their mettle, both lines are full of rebounders, scorers and ball handlers. In short, the Ducks run ten-deep with strong tournament-ready talent. To not recognize this team’s place among the nation’s best now is to start putting them at a disadvantage.

Despite a handful of cupcakes on the schedule this year, the Ducks have played three 2013 NCAA tournament teams — all away from home. And they won all three in gritty, grinding affairs.

If the Ducks remain undefeated on January 12, 2014, having defeated No. 20 Colorado on the road, and both Cal and Stanford at home, there’s no justification for holding them out of the top 10.

Ducks Slip Past the Illini 71-64

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The Oregon Ducks(9-0) defeated the Illinois Fighting Illini(9-2) 71-64 at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore., and continue their unblemished 2013-2014 campaign. The Illini gave UO all they could muster, even holding a nine point lead mid-way through the second half. But once the Portland crowd turned up the volume, the Ducks energy followed suit. Led by Jonathan Loyd, Oregon made an admirable second half comeback, finishing the game on a 28-14 run.

The first half was played mostly at Illinois’ tempo: slow and methodical.The Ducks were out rebounded 14-19 and forced two less turnovers than the Illini in half one. Also, neither team was hitting three’s consistently(both shot less than 25 percent). However, UO shot 52 percent from the field, whereas UI shot just 39 percent.

image by kevin cline (fishduck.com)
image by kevin cline (fishduck.com)

Illinois guards Tracy Abrams and Rayvonte Rice habitually slashed to the rim against UO guards and both finished the half with 10 points. Joseph Young and Damyean Dotson led the way for the Ducks, connecting on some open looks, scoring eight points each in half one.

The game started with both teams treading water, trying to figure out its opponent.The Illini were up 18-16 before fouling Mike Moser, putting them in the penalty. The foul kickstarted an 8-0 run for Ducks. However, the Illini retorted with a 7-0 run of their own. The first half ended in a 32-32 tie. Oregon’s turnovers, lack of fast break points and offensive rebounding prevented it from reaching its average half total of 45.7 points.

image by kevin cline (fishduck.com)
image by kevin cline (fishduck.com)

At the beginning of the second half, Illinois made another push toward a W. Following a pair of lay ins by Young and Dotson, the Illini went on a 5-0 run, led by five points from forward Jon Ekey. The run continued in part because Ducks big men were struggling defensively, committing too hard to ball handlers on pick and rolls and leaving Illini forwards unguarded around the hoop. On the other side of the court, the Ducks had no offensive rhythm. Not only that but Illinois just played more disciplined, moving the ball around more often and more effectively than Oregon and staying honest defensively, even drawing a couple charges.  Illinois led 50-41.

But in a four possession stretch, Jason Calliste hit a three and converted a lay up and Elgin Cook ripped the ball from Rice and then dunked the ball at the other end after a nice pass from  Moser. Illinois coach John Groce was forced to call a timeout with his team clinging to a 54-52 lead. The run was ignited by the accelerated pace generated by the ruckus crowd at the Moda Center.

image by kevin cline (fishduck.com)
image by kevin cline (fishduck.com)

After UO continued its run and took a five point lead, Illini G Joseph Bertrand hit a midrange jumper while falling to the ground. Loyd responded with a big jumper of his own after freezing his defender with multiple hesitation dribbles.

After UI cut UO’s lead back to three, the score was 67-64. With less than 35 seconds remaining, Loyd was fouled and converted both free throws in a one-in-one situation. Then Loyd stripped the ball from Abrams and converted a fast break lay in, sealing the Oregon victory.

image by kevin cline (fishduck.com)
image by kevin cline (fishduck.com)

Loyd finished the game right on par with his averages, scoring 11 points and dishing out seven assists. Moser and Young led all Ducks with 14 points a piece. Moser also led the Ducks with nine rebounds. Like he has for most of the season, Cook provided the spark UO needed off the bench, scoring 12 points on 5-6 shooting.

Other than crowd energy, the difference in half two was the reversal of dominance on the glass. Oregon won the rebounding battle 17-8 and finished the game grabbing four more boards than Illinois. Both teams improved from the field after the break, but the Ducks finished the game shooting 56 percent, while the Illini shot 43 percent. UO held IU bellow its 201st ranked points per game average of 72.3. The Ducks also ended the Illini’s season-long streak of holding opponents below 70 points. Abrams and Rice were the game’s leading scorers, scoring 16 points each.

image by kevin cline (fishduck.com)
image by kevin cline (fishduck.com)

Oregon continues its non-conference schedule against UC Irvine on Dec. 17 back at Matthew Knight Arena. The game will mark the return of former starting G Dominic Artis and C Ben Carter. Also, Waverly Austin started the first half of the UI game, but didn’t start the second half. Dana Altman’s minute distribution decisions will be very interesting to watch moving forward.

FishDuck: Ducks put the O in Oregon in OT Win

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OXFORD, Miss.-  Oregon came into Ole Miss on Sunday afternoon with an incredible record of 7-0 (first time since their 2006-07 season) and were looking to capture another win, making them one of only two teams in the PAC-12 still undefeated.  But, with this being the Ducks’ first matchup in history against the Rebels, both teams knew this one would come down to who wanted it more.  With the 6.5 inch blizzard that attacked Eugene, 36 degrees and a little rain sounded like a paradise vacation for the red hot Ducks in Oxford.  Unfortunately, with the “vacation-like” weather Oregon was “enjoying,” also came a vacation-like mindset to start off the game.

With very little known about Ole Miss as a unit, the Ducks were only aware of their explosive scorer Marshall Henderson, who led Ole Miss seemingly by himself to the NCAA tournament last year.  Although he hasn’t been as explosive this year, the Ducks had their eyes on him in their periphery.

Young for 3!

Young for 3! | image from video

Both teams started off the game shooting fairly poor and not executing as well as they may have hoped.  They both consistently changed from man-to-man, to a zone defense throughout the whole game, trying to confuse the opposing offense on almost every possession.  Oregon’s zone defense proved to make Ole Miss’ offensive plan ( have Marshall shoot ridiculously difficult shots) hard to execute, while the Rebels’ zone combination of man-to-man and zone threw the Ducks off a bit leading to some turnovers.  At the beginning, the Ducks were struggling to find their identity, as they have been throughout the season with all of their new pieces.  There wasn’t one person that truly dominated this game at halftime for either team, which only led us to believe that at some point SOMEONE had to pick up the slack in the second half.

At the end of the first half, the Ducks were down, 38-37, as Oregon shot 49% to Ole Miss’ 45%, but at the same time, Oregon shot 33% from three going 3-9, while the Rebels shot 41% on 5-12.  Plus, both teams shot an atrocious 50% from the line.  The Ducks continued to struggle in the areas that they hoped to improve in by the time their conference games came around, as their free-throw shooting wasn’t close to being up to par, and they were again outrebounded at the half, 20-16, allowing Ole Miss seven offensive rebounds to their four.  If Oregon wants to make a statement that they’re to be taken serious, they will have to build a presence in the paint that will be actually feared across the nation.  They might not have incredible size inside, but they do have athletes with heart that can make up for it, and will need to start boxing out better under the basket, not allowing second chance points.

Cook weaves among the bigs

Cook weaves among the bigs.

With all of that said, the Ducks played an incredible second half, proving they DO have the ability to succeed in the previously stated areas of weakness.  Coach Dana Altman decided to go with a fairly small lineup regardless of the fact that they were getting outrebounded, because he believes in his players’ abilities and continued hard work.  The Ducks started off the second half continuing to go back and forth against Ole Miss with both running and gunning.  Thankfully, run and gun is what Oregon is all about, and this style of play favored our Mighty Ducks, as they began to build more and more confidence in the hostile environment.

To be fair, this was the Ducks’ biggest test of the year by far, and they played the most beautiful basketball I’ve seen them play all year in the second half.  Mike Moser and Elgin Cook looked like Lamarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum in a beautiful offensive display, led by Johnathan “Damian Lillard” Loyd.  It really was like watching the Portland Trailblazers in college form.  Moser began by extending his range on two pick-and-pops to start off his offensive tear, while Cook was swiftly driving to the basket and finishing with the touch, all led by Loyd’s incredible 15 assists!

Henderson took crazy shots

Henderson took crazy shots.

On the other side of the floor was the erratic shooter Marshall Anderson picking up the load for the Rebels, as he finished the game with a career-high 39 points.  As time began to wind down in the second half the Ducks had a three-point lead with just less than ten seconds remaining.  The Rebel’s Jarvis Summers, who had been struggling the whole game, caught the ball and took matters into his own hands by popping the game-tying 3 with .8 seconds left.  Oregon foolishly threw the ball away giving Ole Miss one last chance at winning the game before overtime and put the ball in Marshall Anderson’s hands as he shot the fade-away three that looked oh-so-good, but luckily was slightly off.

Perhaps this was a late wakeup call for the Ducks, but they absolutely destroyed Ole Miss in overtime.  They were led by none other than Joseph Young who was able to score 19 points in the game by shooting 4-5 from three-point range.  As Young and Loyd proved to be a dynamic duo in overtime, the Ducks came out victorious with a staggering win, 115-105.

Moser is hot

Moser is hot.

The Ducks had six players score in double digits, as the player of the game had to be Loyd with his 23 points and 15 assists, followed by Moser’s 24 points and 10 rebounds.  With Coach Atlman, he never settled on one line-up during the game, he still was able to utilize his bench to the maximum of their abilities as Cook, Amardi and Calliste were all huge factors in Sunday’s win.  Oregon finished the game shooting an incredible 59% total, and and unheard of 50% from three, while coming up with a solid 80% from the line.  There’s no doubt that the second half of this game was a shootout, but Oregon simply had the hotter hand.

The Ducks are now 8-0, and will head back to play in the snow with their heads high after such an impressive win.

Make sure to tune in on December 14th on ESPN2 as Oregon faces Illinois at 6pm Pacific time.

Ducks Scare Away the Tigers

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Photos by Craig Strobeck

Eugene, OR.-  The undefeated Pacific Tigers matched up on Friday against the Ducks. This contest was Oregon’s first of three battles in the Global Sports Hardwood Challenge.  Hosted in Eugene, the Challenge should test the Ducks’ mental toughness and bench depth, as it will surely be a long weekend for the No. 14 team in the country.

The Ducks came into Friday’s game with their heads high after a dominating win against USF last Sunday. The biggest priority for Oregon is establishing good team chemistry, as the Ducks are composed primarily 0f transfers still becoming accustomed to one another’s styles of play.  Although it can be frustrating establishing that chemistry, it is encouraging to note that the only thing that can beat Oregon at this point is, well . . . Oregon!  They have the talent and coaching, and now Dana Altman’s goal is putting it all together.

Coach Altman thinking up motivational halftime speech to motivate turkey-filled Ducks

In Oregon’s first game of the Hardwood Challenge against the Pacific Tigers, the Ducks came out the same way they did in the first half of the USF game. They were caught out of position on defense, were dominated on the glass (25-15 in the first half), and shot a poor 54% from the line and 25% from three-point range.  The Tigers put up nine offensive rebounds and shot 42% from three.  It was clear the Ducks had a little too much stuffing on Thanksgiving, because they simply looked slow, sloppy and lethargic.  Both teams turned the ball over, but Oregon’s early turnovers led to transition points by the Tigers, killing Oregon’s momentum.  The result — the Ducks were down 36-29 at the half.

On defense, the Tigers played a 3-2 zone to Oregon’s early man-to-man, which quickly turned into a zone, to match the Tigers style of play.  Although the Ducks did move the ball around well, they couldn’t convert on their opportunities.  Meanwhile, the Tigers popped threes all in the Ducks’ faces on lazy close-outs.  Coach Altman understood in order to start scoring against the Tigers’ zone, they needed to attack Pacific’s zone gaps by dribble penetration, finding players open either under the basket or kicking the ball back out to perimeter shooters.  Dana Altman turned to a three-guard lineup (Loyd, Calliste, and Young), hoping they would be able to create opportunities for one another.

Young leads comeback in 2nd half

For such a talented offensive team, 29 points in a half is unacceptable to Coach Altman.  With Mike Moser being the only scorer in double digits at the half, the intensity had to pick up quickly.  The Ducks did just that, and within the first few minutes of the second half, they hounded the Tigers and made them their prey.  The Ducks moved much better on defense, switching back into their man-to-man to stop the three-point feeding frenzy that the Tigers had become accustomed to in the first half.  Oregon began to steal, block, and close-out much better in the second half, which led to fast break points.  Joseph Young began the come back with a three pointer and two incredible acrobatic lay-ups, assisting the Ducks in an early 16-0 run and pushing the lead to 45-36.  Pacific went cold for the remainder of the game, shooting just 36% overall to the Ducks 56%.

Calliste running the show as the leading scorer off the bench

Jonathan Loyd led the attack with 13 assists on the game.  His quarterback- like vision on the court created opportunities for teammates, as four Ducks ended up scoring in double digits, led by Moser’s 19 points.  Dotson quetly had a nice game with 13 points on 5-5 shooting, and Calliste came off the bench to contribute another 15.  Oregon will need to continue to get solid contributions from their bench this weekend, simply because the starters cannot carry the load every game.  By the middle of the second half, it was pretty obvious the Ducks had this one put away, as they went into cruise control and finished the game with a score of 85-62.

As this season continues, Oregon will have to address their issues on the boards.  It will not be possible for this team to continue dominating opponents without stronger rebounding.  Their increased attention to detail on the defensive glass will be key, since teams will only continue to get bigger and stronger as the season goes forward.

Oregon will continue to improve on their incredible potential in Saturday’s matchup at 3:30 pm against North Dakota.

Oregon Men’s Basketball: Ducks Grind out 69-54 Win Over Utah Valley

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It’s safe to say that the Ducks (3-0) weren’t exactly the same shooters against the Utah Valley Wolverines (2-2) that they were last week against Western Carolina. They missed 37 shots, and finished the night 6-for-21 from deep after starting with a hot 4-for-8.

But the rebounders were there as Oregon compiled 41 rebounds in a more gritty 69-54 game against Utah Valley.

Richard Amardi vs. UVU | Photo by Nate Barrett/Eric Evans
Richard Amardi vs. UVU | Photo by Nate Barrett/Eric Evans

“We beat ’em on the boards, but we should’ve,” head coach Dana Altman said. “I thought we were a step slow all night.”

Mike Moser, a double-double machine at UNLV, came quite close to his first double-double at Oregon with 8 points and 9 rebounds. Altman mentioned Moser as someone he’d like to see increase his rebounds, and Moser came through as a big part of the Ducks’ early success rebounding.

The Ducks took their first 16-point lead on a Waverly Austin dunk with 10 left in the first half, but they allowed the Wolverines to hang around going into the intermission. After giving up a 17-3 run, Oregon’s advantage was only 29-25 as the teams reached the half. The second half started slow as well, but Oregon took that as their cue to drive harder at the basket.

“I know I wasn’t happy, coach wasn’t happy, it’s not good enough,” said guard Jason Calliste. “Just because we’re up doesn’t mean the game’s over.”

After an 8-3 first-half foul battle favoring Utah Valley, Oregon turned the tables in the second half, drawing 8 fouls against 3 of their own with 10 minutes left. Leading the charge as Oregon made its run to put UVU away was Damyean Dotson, who started 0-for-6, but finished with 8 points and 5 rebounds.

The reasons for the limited attacking early was obvious. Utah Valley held back a bit on defense, and didn’t press the issue. This led to 14 first-half threes and just two (both missed) free throws.

“The soft defense, they didn’t extend their defense. We gave into it,” Altman said. “In the first half, we just shot it. The ball movement wasn’t there.”

After 6 more minutes of a single digit advantage, Dotson and defensive specialist Elgin Cook took over. An and-one for Dotson gave the Ducks a 21-point advantage with just under nine minutes left that wouldn’t be challenged.

Also big on the Ducks’ push was the newcomer and box-score stuffer, Joseph Young. Quietly leading the Ducks in scoring after a quality first half, Young finished with 20 points, six of which came as a result of his 3 steals.

Senior Johnathan Loyd started and passed Kamakaze Kid Mike Drummond to take No. 8 on the career UO assists list. With 312 assists in his four years at Oregon, Loyd needs just four to pass Oregon great Terrell Brandon. With three steals, he’s also just two steals away from passing Maarty Leunen on the all-time steals list.

Loyd finished with 12 points, followed by Richard Amardi with 9, Moser with 8, Dotson with 8, and Calliste with 5.

Calliste didn’t leap from the box score, though Altman singled him out as being especially strong on defense in the second half on specific possessions. After the game, he specified the obvious difference between this game and last week.

“We had to get stops tonight. Once you get it going, you think you can outscore a team. It’s not going to happen every night,” he said. “If you want to win, defense wins.”

The Ducks take on the San Francisco Dons on Sunday, 5 p.m. at Matthew Knight Arena.

Oregon Men’s Basketball: Young Gets Hot In Second Half As Ducks Bounce Catamounts, 107-83

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Oregon (2-0) trailed its early-season opponent from about the start of the game until the 12-minute mark when Mike Moser nailed a shot from deep that, coincidentally, broke a 12-all tie.

They never again trailed, and though star Western Carolina guard Trey Sumler (recently reactivated after an alleged assault) would challenge that lead, a career night for Joseph Young put the Catamounts away, 107-83.

Photo by Eric Evans
Joseph Young – Photo by Eric Evans/GoDucks

“Offensively, in the second half, we shot the ball extremely well,” head coach Dana Altman said. “Defensively, this team’s got a long way to go.”

Young scored 36, Moser scored 26 and Elgin Cook added half of his 16 from the line. In sum, the Ducks shot 47 free throws and sank 35 of them, a 74.5 percent clip.

In fact, were Young to not explode out of the intermission to start the second half with 17 of Oregon’s first 25 second half points, Western Carolina’s 34 fouls would’ve probably been the story.

But considering Young put up 28 points in the second half alone? This game was about him. Not only was 36 a career high for the Houston transfer — and the most by a Duck since Tajuan Porter hung up 38 on Portland State in 2006 — it was a Matthew Knight Arena record for points scored in the young arena.

“It just kind of came to me, I hit that first three … that’s what really opened the game up there.” Young said about his second half.

Where the Ducks’ lead wavered before halftime, and the intermission saw the Ducks walk away with just a 2-point lead, Oregon was unchallenged in the second frame. Once double-digits were earned, the Catamounts only reached within ten points three more times.

After Young’s barrage, all everyone could do was watch. He added four quick points to a half-opening three, and capped off the run with a barn-burning and-one that put fire in his eyes that you could see from press row.

“His eyes get like that, we just kinda start cheerleading,” Moser said.

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Helping the Ducks out in the second half was a tighter half offensively. After senior Johnathan Loyd hit the bench with two early fouls, backup point guard Jason Castille took up a lot of time on the floor and gave up three first-half turnovers. In the second half, Young and Loyd took control and the team gave up just four freebies.

“We had Jason out there too long,” Altman said. “We asked him to handle the ball for a long time.”

The new NCAA rules this year have had a demonstrable effect on rate and method of play, and especially with this team and Mr. Young. In post-game comments, Young said he liked the new ability to attack and get to the line. With the game’s 53 fouls, the junior guard shot 15 of 16 from the line. The hot start only encouraged Oregon’s players as they created several pretty layup attempts.

“When we hit a lot of threes, the floor got spread, and then driving lanes became even better,” Altman said.

The coach talked lightly after the game about his team’s ability to rebound from last week’s international trip to South Korea for last Friday’s game against Georgetown. He didn’t see jet lag as a very big factor for his players this week.

“We’re fine, those guys are young. It doesn’t bother them,” Altman said.

When asked how the Crete, Neb., native himself was handling the time change, he answered simply.

“Oh well, I’m fine.”

Oregon continues its season-opening home stand with Tuesday and Sunday games next week against Utah Valley and San Francisco. The meeting with the USF next Sunday will be the first meeting between the two schools since the Ducks bounced the Dons in June.

Ducks Basketball Survives Exhibition Scare vs Point Loma

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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.”

Waverly Austin
Oregon’s Waverly Austin drives to the lane | (Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)

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.

Oregon Ducks Basketball vs Point Loma
Ducks and Sea Lions scrap for a loose ball | (Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)

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.”

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