(PHOTO) Oregon Ducks forward Dillon Brooks (24) drives to the basket against Long Beach State 49ers guard Nick Faust (2) during a game at Matthew Knight Arena. Oregon won 94-73. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
“I thought it was our whole team, when you get six guys in double-figures, that's pretty balanced,” observed Head Coach Dana Altman of his team’s effort. “I thought Dwayne (Benjamin) gave us a big lift on the front end of the press. Chris (Boucher) gave us a big lift with his rebounding in the second half. And that was the best we shot free throws, 22-24, guys were able to finish those. Those are important and the rebounding advantage was big.”
The game was closely contested in the first half with Oregon holding a 40-39 advantage at halftime, but when the game resumed in the second half it looked like LBSU might run away with it going on a 9-point run and building a 48-42 lead with 18:02 showing on the game clock. That’s when Oregon’s Dana Altman called timeout and when play resumed, Oregon had regained its composure and focus.
“After a slow start in the second half the last 18 minutes I thought we played really hard and really well,” said Altman of the game. “There were times when we weren’t focused for long periods of time, especially in that first half. You can’t do that against good teams."
After the timeout the Ducks went on a nine-point run (all scored by Brooks) of their own and Oregon played a stingy zone defense from that point on. What may have also helped was that Travis Hammonds, who had hit a career high of 21 points in the first half, was on the bench with foul problems. Hammonds would finish the game as the high scorer with 27 points though was not the hot hand in the second half he was in the first when he was 6-of-7 in 3-point shooting.
“What’s disappointing is that we wasted a great effort by one guy to keep us in there until we could get other guys into a flow,” said Long Beach State Head Coach Dan Monson. “We just put too much effort on our offense.”
Besides Brooks and Dorsey, Oregon had good production from Chris Boucher, finishing with 14 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots, Elgin Cook with 13 (all in the second half), Casey Benson with 11 points and five assists and Jordan Bell with 10 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots.
Oregon shot well throughout the game hitting 51.6 percent from the field on 32-of-62 shooting and interestingly hit 16-of-31 in each half. The Ducks have shown improvement in 3-point shooting as the season has gone along and tonight were 8-of-22, and were particularly good at the free throw line going 22-of-24 in free throw shooting. One statistic that Altman was pleased about was ball handling.
“I thought our ball movement was good,” admitted Altman. “(We) only had three turnovers in the second half after having eight in the first. I thought we did a better job making plays for teammates. I thought we got what we wanted on most possessions and guys were able to finish.”
LBSU shot 41.7 percent from the field (25-of-60) including an impressive 11-of-27 beyond the 3-point line. The 49ers also shot 12-of-19 in free throws. Helping Hammonds with scoring was Roschon Prince with 15 points and Nick Faust with 14.
The Ducks leave tomorrow morning for Birmingham, Alabama on Monday in a game that will tipoff at 6 p.m. (Pacific) and will be carried on ESPN. Alabama is 7-2 so far this season.
Garrett Hill contributed to this story.