New Starting 5 holds on for Ducks

Ducks lead from wire to wire but need strong play down the stretch to come away with a win.

After their meeting with Cal State Northridge, Head Coach Dana Altman stated that something had to change for the Ducks if they were going to avoid slow starts and poor play in the first half of games. Altman changed the lineup again for Oregon as three new starters from the previous game took the floor.

“We don’t have anything etched in stone. We may change every game. We don’t have anybody who has separated themselves in practice or ballgames so we may change it every game. We have to do a better job, we have to get better,” said Coach Dana Altman.

Joseph Young led all scorers with 22 and Elgin Cook had a double double with 10 points and rebounds as Oregon had 4 scorers in double figures in the 83-70 win. Amere May led the Hornets with 16 points, 14 of them coming in the second half after going for 48 in his previous game.

“I think that everyone who guarded [May] did a great job. We were trying to make it tough, but we knew he could really score the basketball. We just wanted to make him work for every single shot that he got,” said guard Casey Benson.

Benson, Jalil Abdul-Bassit and Jordan Bell joined Seniors Young and Elgin Cook in the starting five and helped the Ducks race out to a 16-3 lead. While the starters dominated the first session of the game, the second unit seemed to stall out the Ducks as Delaware State closed the game to single digits. Wholesale changes in the line-up pushed the Duck lead back to double digits but as the first half closed, Oregon struggled to put the ball in the hoop.

Young had a quiet second half with nine, while the rest of the Ducks got into the act. Ahmaad Rorie and Abdul-Bassit had solid second halves as they both found themselves in double digits largely due to their offensive output after the break. After Oregon pushed the lead to 20, the Hornets responded and cut the lead to 10. A pair of back to back dunks around the five minute mark from Jordan Bell; one on a tip in and the other on an alley-oop, put the Ducks up by 15 and the game away.

Oregon seems to have found a remedy for their slow starts but now have to find a way to get their second unit in the flow early. The three players who were previously in the starting lineup went a combined 6 of 21 from the field, including a 0-13 first half from the bench. They bounced back to score 20 points in the second frame but the slow start from the second unit has to be remedied.

“We didn’t keep the offensive flow going. When we made the change, we kind of came to a halt and gave up some easy baskets…attention to detail and focus. We just have to get better,” said Altman.

The Ducks next take on UC-Santa Barbara who will be a real challenge for the Ducks. UCSB has effective length inside which will give Oregon’s bigs fits if they don’t prepare for the Gauchos. That game is Monday night at 6.

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