Oregon's big run enough to beat Vikings

Oregon once again overcomes a slow start to beat the Vikings by 22 on their home court Sunday night.

The Ducks stepped up their competition in Brooklyn and in turn dropped a pair to Michigan and Virginia Commonwealth. Oregon returned to the friendly confines of Matthew Knight Arena looking to get back on track against in-state opponent Portland State. Oregon used a big run in the first half and held the Vikings at bay as they came out with the win 81-59 Sunday night.

Oregon defense was stifling as they held the Vikings to under 26% shooting from the field and were able to capitalize on around half their shots going 29-64 from the field. Jalil Abdul-Bassit and Joseph Young lead 5 Ducks in double figures with 19, Young filled also contributed 9 rebounds and 7 assists. DaShaun Wiggins led the Vikings with 15 points.

“Jalil played tremendous tonight. To come in and shoot the ball like he did and make big plays off the bench was a tremendous uplifting off the bench,” said guard Casey Benson who made his first start of the season Sunday.

With Dwayne Benjamin out with an ankle injury, Dillon Brooks has seen an increased role on the team. Brooks tallied another double-double, scoring 16 points and corralling 12 rebounds. He also had a pair of threes to his credit as he was a thorn in the Vikings’ side on the glass and with the ball in his hands.

“I thought Dillon really got some big boards. I thought his rebounding effort was really good tonight. It really was a big difference for us,” said Coach Dana Altman.

The Ducks struggled out of the gates once again, going 2-9 from the field, part of that a 0-6 performance from three. The Ducks would settle in though and explode with a 23-3 run to give them separation from the Vikings. In that time, the Ducks made four 3 pointers, 3 of them coming from Abdul-Bassit. The Ducks settled in at half with a 50-30 lead as Casey Benson’s three beat the buzzer.

“We had a set play and I got it off of a reversal. I knew the clock was running down and I wanted to get a shot up and on the rim. Thankfully it went in,” said Benson.

Despite demonstrating an ability to take care of the ball in the first, Oregon coughed the ball up to the Vikings five times in the first five minutes of the second half as they once again had to battle a less than stellar start. Oregon finished the game with 11 turnovers, 8 of them coming in the second half after a solid 11-3 ration of assists to turnovers in the first.

“The 11 assists in the first half is why we scored 50 points and shot 50% from the field. In the second half we don’t have the assists, we had more turnovers and our shot selection wasn’t nearly as good. I hope our guys will learn from that,” said Altman.

Portland State got many of their points from the free throw line, going 20 of 27. It allowed them to keep the game right around the 20 point mark. It was a bit bizarre as Oregon was never really able to stretch the lead after going up big and PSU was never really able to cut into the lead.

The Ducks take on Concordia, another Oregon based college on Wednesday as they prepare to bring in schools like Ole Miss and then go on the road against Illinois.

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