The day after a crushing loss by the football team, the Oregon men did their best to take some of the sting out of the weekend, rolling in their 86-61 victory over the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks Sunday afternoon. That, however, wasn't the biggest hoops news surrounding Oregon head coach Dana Altman and his ball club. Before tip-off against Southeast Missouri State, news broke that prized freshman recruit Jabari Brown informed Altman on Saturday of his intentions to quit the Oregon basketball team. After the game, Altman addressed questions surrounding Brown's abrupt departure.
"(Jabari) came in yesterday and said he decided to leave," said Altman. "I will say right up front, I don't want him to leave. I did try to talk him out of it, I wanted him to reconsider, I hope he does reconsider. The door is still open. He's a good young man who hasn't gotten off to the start he wanted."
When asked what was at the heart of Brown's desire to leave, Altman seemed to suggest much of it had to do with flat out frustration.
"He was just frustrated with things," Altman stated. "We didn't get too deep in to it because we had practice, but I think he's frustrated. We'll just have to wait and see."
Altman went on to say that he planned to speak with Brown later this evening. Brown, a former five-star recruit according to Scout.com, was removed from the official team roster on Oregon's official athletic website, but a spokesperson for the university said after the game that Brown had been re-added to the roster.
Oregon senior forward Jeremy Jacob wasn't aware of Brown's reasons for not participating against Southeast Missouri State until Altman informed the team after the game's conclusion.
"We actually found out (in the locker room)," said Jacob, who finished 10 points and seven rebounds. "We're still really unsure about it...We knew something was wrong (when Brown didn't show up), but we didn't know what it was. Coach just said that he may be leaving, but that nothing's set in stone yet."
With Brown's status with the team in considerable limbo, on the floor, the Ducks played arguably their most complete game of the season, shooting 48.4 percent from the floor and turning the ball over only eight times. Junior forward E.J. Singler led the Ducks in scoring with 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field, including 2-for-2 shooting from three-point land. Singler also tied Jacob for the team lead in rebounding this evening, snagging seven boards of his own.
"I definitely felt like I was in a rhythm today," said Singler. "The last couple of games, I felt like I wasn't getting open. This game, I really pushed myself to make some space so I could get a shot off...I felt good and when I had the open shot, I took it."
The Ducks win over the Redhawks moves them to 2-1 overall on the season, setting up a key matchup this Wednesday on the road against Nebraska in Lincoln. The Cornhuskers (3-0 overall) should present Altman and the Ducks with their stiffest test since their road loss at Vanderbilt to start the season. Moreover, Nebraska's experienced roster is something that has grasped Altman's attention as they head in to Wednesday's game.
"We know Nebraska will be very tough," said Altman. "Nebraska's a veteran squad that went to the NIT last year and has almost everybody back. They have NCAA aspirations and we're going to have to play really well (to win)."
Oregon takes on Nebraska in Lincoln this upcoming Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 6:00 p.m. Pacific. The game can be seen live on the Big Ten Network.
Notes: Oregon freshman guard Bruce Barron and junior center Tony Woods both left the game with injuries this afternoon. Barron appeared to hit his face on the floor as he dove for a loose ball in the second half, though Altman expects him to be back healthy for Nebraska. Woods' status moving forward is much foggier. After suffering an apparent ankle injury in Sunday's game, Altman says Woods is doubtful for the game against Nebraska. Altman said tests would be run on Woods' ankle to determine the severity of the injury.
Follow Chris Courtney on Twitter at eDuckCCourtney
Oregon Powers Way Past SE Missouri State
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