(File photo courtesy USAToday Sports Images)
The Ducks came out flat footed in the opening minutes of the game allowing Arkansas State to get an early 4-0 lead, aided by Oregon’s cold shooting. Arkansas State lead for a total of 3:41 during the first half, but when Dwayne Benjamin checked in the Ducks’ fortunes started to change.
“He was by far the most productive player in the first half,” said Dana Altman of Benjamin’s play. “Tyler (Dorsey) hit a few threes late, but he (Benjamin) definitely got us going offensively and just took the basket.”
Also, after the initial four-point lead by Arkansas State, the Ducks defense turned up the heat and forced 14 1st half turnovers which allowed the Ducks to score 12 points off those turnovers.
Benjamin ultimately finished the night as the high scorer with 25 on 10-of-17 shooting from the field including 3-of-5 in 3-pointers. Benjamin started things off early by going 4-of-4 from the field and made up for an ice cold Dillon Brooks, who had established a career high last Sunday against Valpo. Brooks though, played well defensively and did other things that help the cause by hauling down eight rebounds and handing out six assists. Brooks finished the night with four points on 2-of-12 shooting and a rare bad night at the free throw line by missing both attempts he was given.
While Benjamin was the scoring leader, the star of the game has to go to Chris Boucher, who had 17 points, nine rebounds and nine blocked shots and was a huge force on defense causing the Red Wolves to think twice about trying to go the basket.
“His second half was really good,” Altman said of Boucher. “He (Boucher) was really active, both offensively and defensively. The first half, he had three rebounds, four points and two blocks so the second half he had seven rebounds, 13 points and 7 blocks. That’s one heck of a game.”
Arkansas State Coach John Brady was called for a technical foul with 6:31in the first half remaining for arguing missed calls by the refs and after Elgin Cook hit the two free throws resulting from the technical, the Ducks were on their way and went into the locker room leading 38-25 when the first half ended.
The second half started the Red Wolves getting two quick baskets to bring them within nine points 38-29, but Boucher drained his first and only 3-pointer of the game extending the Ducks lead back into double-digit figures, Boucher’s 3-pointer seemed to have sparked the rest of the team as the Ducks opened up the floodgates on the Red Wolves.
Tyler Dorsey played a strong game and ended the night with 15 while Cook finished the night with 13.
Arkansas State was led by their Redshirt Junior Devin Carter who had 14 points, Carter was a perfect 44 from the behind the arch.
The Ducks still struggled with their 3-point shooting but were able to hold off the Arkansas State Red Wolves to 32.4 percent shooting from the field. Still though, Altman is still looking for more consistency in scoring and defensive position.
“We’re not playing enough attention to detail,” Observed Altman. “Some guys just want to go play. Our attention to detail offensively and the talk defensively has got to improve. Our block-out percentages have to improve.”
Ducks next take on the undefeated Fresno State Bulldogs on Monday night at Matthew Knight Arena.
(Garrett Hill contributed to this story. You can follow him on Twitter at @ghill3133)