What the Oregon men lack in size, they make up for in teamwork. Despite being outrebounded by Jacksonville State 29-28, the Ducks shredded the Gamecocks with outstanding ball movement and deft shooting en route to a 74-56 victory in their fourth to last game ever at legendary McArthur Court. On 20 team assists, the Ducks made 29 shots, shooting nearly 57 percent from the field (56.9) for the entire game.
"That's good," said satisfied junior guard Garrett Sim, who finished with 10 points and 3 assists Monday night.
"That's good, efficient basketball," continued Sim. "I think we've been playing pretty unselfish the last couple of games and I think it's showing (by our ability) to get easy baskets. That's a real good stat for tonight."
Aside from his team's lackluster performance on the offensive glass, Oregon head coach Dana Altman appeared as pleased with the overall showing of his squad after the game as he has all season. For once, it seemed, the Ducks started quickly to open a game and never showed signs of relenting until the final buzzer sounded; something Altman took direct notice of as he addressed the media afterwords.
"It was nice to get off on the right foot," confessed Altman. "I thought we played well early and got a good lead. (Jacksonville State) kept coming...but I thought we played pretty hard and for the most part, and I thought we played pretty good."
Giving the Ducks their biggest boosts on offense were forwards E.J. Singler and Joevan Catron who each contributed 7 rebounds while scoring 14 and 20 points, respectively. For the game, Oregon ending up holding a 10 point advantage down low, going hard in the paint as they outscored the Gamecocks 38-28.
"(Coach) always says go low to the goal," said Catron after the game. "If everyone goes to the block, we're going to get at least five tries from the line, so we took that in to consideration (tonight)."
At 7-3 overall, the Oregon men now head out on the road to face Virginia in Charlottesville on Friday night. Sporting a 6-3 record, the Cavaliers are riding a wave of momentum coming off recent back-to-back wins at Minnesota and at Virginia Tech. Virginia's size advantage inside is also something that the Ducks will be forced to contend with, as Altman look toward his team's first legitimate road challenge of the season.
"It's a good test for us," said Altman of the Ducks' upcoming cross country visit. "They're coming off a couple of really big wins. They're a good basketball team -- big, physical -- and a real challenge for us because of our lack of size and lack of width."
Tip-off between the Ducks and Cavaliers is scheduled for 5:00 pm Pacific on Friday.
Oregon shot a season-high 56.9 percent from the field (29-of-51), including 60.0 percent in the first stanza which marked a season-best first half shooting percentage...The Ducks improved to 5-2 overall this year when they shoot 50 percent or better...Oregon is 7-2 this season when they make fewer than 10 3-pointers in a game...Joevan Catron (team-high 20 points) reached the 20-point mark for the fourth time this season and fifth of his career. It was the 34th time in Catron's career that he reached double figures in scoring. In addition to leading UO in scoring, something he's done seven times in 10 games this season, Catron also led the team in rebounding (7). He's led in boards on five occasions this season (30 times in career)...Garrett Sim (10 Points) has averaged 13.0 points during the Ducks three-game winning streak. He made 15-of-28 field goals in that stretch (53.6 percent)...E.J. Singler (14 points) reached double figures in scoring for the ninth time in 10 games...The Ducks dished out 11 first-half assists on 15 made field goals, matching a season-best assist total they originally set this past Saturday in the first half against Willamette.
Follow Chris Courtney on Twitter at eDuckCCourtney
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