Turnovers, turnovers, and more turnovers enabled the Oregon men to secure a Game 2 CBI Final win over the Creighton Bluejays on Wednesday night. Behind 44 points in the paint and 35 points off 20 Creighton turnovers, the Ducks jumped out to an early first half advantage and never relented en route to their 71-58 victory.
Guards Johnathan Loyd and Malcolm Armstead combined on eight of the Ducks 13 team steals, helping spark Oregon in transition and elevating the energy level inside Matthew Knight Arena.
"That was a great defensive effort from our basketball team tonight," Oregon head coach Dana Altman admitted after the game.
"We didn't play with much passion on Monday and lost. Tonight we played with a great deal of emotion and passion and kind of turned the tables."
In particular, Altman appeared pleased with Loyd's defensive effort in a seldom used defensive alignment, suggesting it was one of catalysts in the Ducks' series extending win.
"I just really liked the energy that Johnny created with it," Altman said of Loyd's performance in the Ducks' sparingly used man-to-man defense scheme.
"We were getting them to turn it over...I really like the energy it gave us. We were flying around in it."
Loyd finished with three steals to go along with three points and six assists.
Altman also lauded the efforts Wednesday night of Armstead, who had a tremendous game in his own right with 14 points, six assists, and five steals in 28 minutes of action. Whether it was starting or finishing a fast break, Armstead seemed to be spearheading the action all night long.
"I thought Malcolm played really good tonight," Altman stated.
"I thought his ability to get to the basket (was good) and I thought he played a lot harder. When you have your point guards playing well in Malcolm and Johnny -- and Joevan (Catron) picked it up again -- we're a much different team."
Catron led the Ducks in scoring with 18 points.
Attention now switches to Friday night, where the Ducks and Bluejays lock horns in a decisive Game 3 match-up for all the CBI marbles. Altman's familiarity with the physical and emotional make-up of Creighton's roster has him convinced that his team will have his hands full two days from now.
"I know those guys in the other locker room and they'll get ready to play," Altman said.
"Kenny Lawson is sitting over there and he's been at Creighton for five years. Four of those years they've won 20 games. He's been to two NITs, an NCAA tournament...those guys are competitors and they're used to winning. They're not pleased with the way they played tonight, so Friday will be a battle."
Tip-off for Game 3 of the CBI Finals is set for 7:00 pm at Matthew Knight Arena. The live telecast of the game can be found on HDNet.
Armstead (14 points) recorded his 17th double-figure scoring game of the season. He also recorded five steals to move into sole possession of third place on the school's all-time list with 151 career steals. He passed Luke Ridnour (150), Fred Jones (148) and Anthony Taylor (147) with tonight's effort...E.J. Singler (10 points) and Joevan Catron (18 points) each scored in double figures for the 27th time this season...Oregon ended the first half on an 18-5 run to turn a go up by 14 points at halftime...The Ducks picked up their 20th victory of the season, making Dana Altman the third first-year UO head coach to rack up 20 wins in his first season and the first since John Warren went 30-15 in the 1944-45 season...It is just the 12th time in school history the Ducks have reached the 20-win mark.
Follow Chris Courtney on Twitter at eDuckCCourtney
Ducks Dominate Creighton, Force Rubber Match
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