Tough Opener

Opening a season with the Fresno State Bulldogs was a dicey proposition for the Oregon Ducks. Fresno, after all, is the defending Western Athletic Conference champions. The Bulldogs also added Shantay Legans, the former star Cal guard to lead the show this year. This was not going to be South Eugene High School's junior varsity squad.

"I look around the league and see who everybody else opened up with, and we definitely had the toughest opponent," Oregon Coach Ernie Kent said.

Oregon pulled out the win, 80-67 in a hard fought battle all the way.

The early going had Oregon running away with this game. Hot shooting by the entire team had the Bulldogs reeling. Forward Luke Jackson hit four three-pointers and an alley-oop dunk in the first seven minutes on his way to 20 points. His fourth three ball put Oregon up 22-10 with 13:20 to go.

Fresno battled back as they would all game. Whenever Oregon put together a run, the Bulldogs would come back and bring themselves within striking distance.

After a 14-0 Oregon run in the second half that put the Ducks up 56-35, Fresno stormed back, eventually cutting the Oregon lead to five points in the final minutes. The Ducks held on to win but the game forced Oregon to work for the victory.

"It was a good test for our team and I felt pretty good about how we played tonight," Luke Jackson said.

Possibly the most impressive outing for the Ducks came from freshman center Mitch Platt. He finished with 12 points on 5-7 shooting and showed great moves inside. Platt also played some great defense and had good positioning.

Center Ian Crosswhite also had a solid game, showing moments of hustle and tacking 13 points onto Oregon's total for the night. He also grabbed six boards and played superb help defense. When a Fresno player would drive past an Oregon defender, Crosswhite would be right there to stop his progress.

Also strong for the Ducks was Andre Joseph. Joseph was 3-6 from the outside and piled on 15 points.

Tonight, Oregon was 26-52 from the floor with 20 of those hoops coming off of assists.

"They had 20 assists on 26 baskets," Fresno State Coach Ray Lopes said. "That's outstanding."

Oregon's three point shooting was also superb, going 14-27 from long range, garnering nearly a 52 percent mark.

Freshman guard Aaron Brooks didn't play as much as was expected tonight. Kent said that while on his way to shoot around today, he injured his knee, so Kent kept his playing time to a minimum. Kent felt that it was a minor injury but will have it examined anyway.

Next up for the Oregon Ducks will be the Portland State Vikings on December 2nd at Mac Court. The Ducks have won the last four straight meetings between the teams.

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