Opening the tournament on Friday against an experienced, physical squad from UConn in the Moda Center, the Ducks struggled with their youth and inexperience in falling to the Huskies 71-63.
Seventeen turnovers and thirty personal fouls by Oregon prevented the Ducks from finding a rhythm on either end of the floor. A 19 for 57 (33.3%) effort shooting the ball added to their woes.
Payton Pritchard’s 14 points led the way for Oregon with Paul White (12 points) and Mikyle McIntosh (10 points) the only other Ducks to reach double digits in scoring. The Huskies out rebounded Oregon 39-36.
Moving across the Rose Quarter to the Veterans Memorial Coliseum to face DePaul on Friday in second round action, the Ducks found a better result if not much improved play.
Neither team was able to forge anything in the way of a lead and hold it, the score was tied 11 times and changed nine and at the end of 40 minutes the score was knotted at 75 apiece.
Pritchard led the Ducks with a career high 29 points and his three point basket to open the extra period gave the Oregon offense a jolt they were able to use to out score DePaul 14-4 for a “closer than it looked” 89-79 victory.
After struggling against Connecticut in the opening round, Elijah Brown found his shot to hit for 19 points and three other Ducks reached double figures in the score book.
Saturday was an off day for the 16 team field with the Ducks returning once again to Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Sunday to face Oklahoma.
Behind Trae Young’s 43 points the Sooners pulled away from the Ducks over the last ten minutes of the game, erasing Oregon’s last lead at 62-61. Five Ducks posted double figures in points with Paul White’s 17 leading the way.
Summing up his team’s performance against an outstanding field of teams, Oregon head coach Dana Altman acknowledged the Ducks are a work in progress. “I think we’re a lot better than this,” he said. “We’re going to have to work awfully hard to turn it around … All of the things we need to do are the tough things.”
The Ducks return to Matthew Knight Arena of Friday December 1st to host Boise State. Tip-off is set for 6:30 pm and the game will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.
~ Rick Morgan