Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon now 3-2 for the year, but shooting woes continue

The Oregon Ducks went over 10 minutes with making a field goal, but still managed to beat the Tennessee Volunteers, 69-65 in overtime at the Maui Jim Maui Invitational on Tuesday.  Dillion Brooks hit the key 3-point basket with 22 seconds left in the overtime period to put the Ducks up 68-65 then added another insurance free throw a few seconds later to ice the win for Oregon.

This season Oregon has had trouble shooting the ball, and the shooting woes continued throughout the game as the Ducks could only can 18-of-53 field goals (34 percent) for the contest and were particularly anemic in 3-point shooting hitting just 5-of-17 long range shots. Fortunately, free throw shooting improved over Monday, as Oregon started off hitting 14-of-14 but cooled to 73.7 percent on 28-of-38 shooting from the line.

In Monday’s loss to Georgetown, Oregon hit half of its free throws, and had the Ducks been able to put in the free-bees, the Ducks might be going back home with a 4-1 record rather than the 3-2 mark they now have as a result from beating a very determined but young Tennessee team.

The Ducks started the game off actively by jumping to a 9-1 lead in the first five minutes of the contest, but a pattern of not being able to score from the outside started to emerge as Oregon missed all but two of the nine 3-pointers attempted in the first half. Tennessee on the other hand was making its 3-pointers and tied the game at 15 with 7:59 left in the half. The lead went back and forth but with 2:16 left in the half; Tennessee was up by eight, 31-23.

Had it not been for the Ducks ability to score from the line, the game could have gone out of control, but the Ducks hit one of the 3-pointers for the half by Casey Benson (who would factor largely in the final outcome) and later Brooks who canned a 3-point shot with just four seconds left that tied the game at 32, which was the halftime score.

That combination of Brooks and Benson would come into play again in the overtime period.

The game may not have ever come to overtime considering once play began in the second half, Oregon jumped out again to what looked like a comfortable lead at 41-32 with 14:39 left in the game. Then the Ducks intensity on defense seemed to wane. In the first five minutes of the second half, Tennessee turned the ball over seven times and the Ducks made the most of the turnovers by scoring nine straight points.

The streak stopped when Tennessee’s Kwe Parker hit a jumper to cut the lead to 41-34. As if the light switch went off and Oregon went cold. Aside from a 3-pointer by Payton Pritchard at the 12 minute mark giving Oregon a 45-34 lead (the largest Oregon lead of the game);  the Ducks made only one field goal, a lay in by Tyler Dorsey at the 9:27 mark which was the last field goal in regulation play.

Tennessee tied the game at 56 with 30 seconds left to go, and had it not been for the Ducks hitting eight free throws, the game would have been lost.

In overtime, the shooting woes continued as only Chris Boucher and Dorsey were able to score a basket along with Brooks and Benson.

Benson finished the game in lieu of the starting point guard, Pritchard, who fouled out. With the game tied at 58 with 3:14 left on a Dorsey lay in, no scoring took place until Benson drove the basket, scored and was fouled with 2:29 left in the overtime period. Benson calmly sank the free throw and Oregon led for the first time in the overtime period 61-58.

The Ducks couldn’t hold the lead though as Tennessee hit a big 3-pointer by Jordan Bowden when the Vols took the ball back to the other end of the court.

The Ducks had to scrap for everything including Boucher tipping the ball in on his own missed shot and Oregon was back on top 63-61.

Tennessee then got a break when Boucher was called for his fifth foul with 1:26 left to go and Vols freshman John Fulkerson sank two free throws.

Game tied at 63.

Benson then hit two free throws making it 65-63 with 1:14 left, but again Fulkerson kept Tennessee’s hopes alive by dunking the ball with only 45 seconds left in OT.

Finally, it was Brooks, who for most of the game showed the rust of not playing (this was only his second game of the season following foot surgery last summer) found himself wide open and he canned a 3-pointer as he had so many times last season. The Ducks were up 68-65 and Brooks would add one more free throw with only one second in the game, to close out all scoring.

For the game Oregon was led in scoring by Brooks with 17 points. Boucher added 11 and Benson had eight. Dylan Ennis and Jordan Bell each had nine, but Ennis struggled throughout the game and was 1-for-9 in field goal shooting (a 3-pointer) but was 6-0f-8 in free throws.

Bell was the leading Oregon rebounder with nine, and Boucher was a solid rim protector with five blocked shots.

Detrick Mostella led all scoring with 22 points, nine of which came from beyond the 3-point arc. Fulkerson added 12 from the center position.

Tennessee shot slight better than Oregon from the field on 21-of-56 or 37.5 percent. The Vols held a 42-37 advantage in rebounding but turned the ball over 25 times as compared to Oregon’s 21 turnovers.

Dana Altman’s reaction to the game:

"We're not playing very well, but we had to find a way to win the game," said Altman. "So any way we could do to figure out a way to win was really important for us."


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