Oregon Stymies Stephen F. Austin

In spite of offensive struggles, defensively, the Oregon men hold Stephen F. Austin to 36.5 percent shooting, defeating the Lumberjacks 55-45 in the final game of the Global Sports Hoops Showcase.

There were few answers for the questions regarding Oregon's offensive woes following Thursday's night game versus Stephen F. Austin. Despite winning their third consecutive game in three consecutive days, the shooting troubles for Oregon head coach Dana Altman and his Ducks have inexplicably continued. In their 55-45 win over the Lumberjacks, the Ducks shot a meager 41.9 percent from the field on 18-of-43 shooting, with their 55 points nearly matching the 54 points put up against Virginia, their lowest output of the season.

"We're just grinding right now," said junior forward E.J. Singler who lead the Ducks in scoring with 12 points. "Our offense really isn't clicking right now. I don't know why, but during the season you have games like that.

"I think [we need to work on] sharing the ball and knowing what our jobs are," Singler continued. "Helping each other out [too]...I think we're trying to do too many things on our own and I think we need to play better together."

Defensively, Singler and his teammates were rather good, limiting Stephen F. Austin to just 45 points, matching the lowest output for an Oregon opponent this season. In fact, throughout the three-day Global Sports Hoops Showcase, Oregon's effort and intensity on defense has been essential in each of their three victories.

Yet, as Pac-12 Conference play around the corner, the question still remains: How do the Ducks remedy their beleaguered offensive play?

"I think we're going to pick things up and pick up the pace," said Altman, when asked what adjustments he'd make to improve the offense. "We may have to simplify [the offense]. We're trying to do too many things and our new guys are really struggling.

"Maybe we need to pick five or six [plays] and just go with them and really just simplify things and try to run something effectively and quickly."

During fleeting stretches, Altman admits that his squad appears to have momentarily turned a corner on offense, though all too often, being unsettled within the offense leads to frustrating bouts of inconsistency which has plagued the team in all four of their games the past five days.

"There's some times when I go, ‘Ok, we've got a feel, we've got what we want,'" said Altman. "But the consistency and getting our new guys on board [has been an issue]...We don't look comfortable out there on the offensive end."

Though they've played four games in five days, the team maintains that fatigue was never really an issue and thus can't be used as an excuse to explain their shakiness on offense.

"Growing up, everyone's played AAU," said Singler. "We've played six games in one day, so I really don't [think fatigue was a factor]. We have such great facilities and treatment centers, that, if you do the right things, your legs are fresh."

Keeping fresh legs through the holiday break will be of particular importance for the Ducks if they are to get off to a fast start with conference play opening a week from Thursday night. The team will gather again on 26th before traveling to Spokane, Washington to take on Washington State on the 29th. Between now and then, there's plenty the Ducks need to resolve, though Singler is confident he and his teammates are equipped to take on the impending challenge.

"I have confidence in the team to come around," stated Singler. "We have enough talent and leadership. We had the same problem last year and ended up clicking later in the season.

"We just need to have faith in the team and believe in each other."

The Ducks will face Washington State December 29 in Spokane. Tip-off is set for 6:00 p.m. Pacific with a live telecast available on Comcast Sports Network Northwest.

Follow Chris Courtney on Twitter at eDuckCCourtney

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