Back To Basics

After a ten-day layoff and then a miserable game against Portland State on Tuesday, the Oregon Ducks needed something to get them going again. They found just that when they faced the Marshall Thundering Herd in the Papé Jam at the Rose Garden in Portland. The Ducks dominated the Herd on their way to a 90-61 victory, their sixth straight in Papé Jam play. <br><br> Oregon's Luke Jackson dunks for two of his game-high 21 points. Jackson was named Pape Jam MVP. (AP Photo/John Klicker)

It is rare, anymore, to see a game where nobody on a team plays more than 30 minutes in the game. In this game, no Duck played more than 27. Oregon (3-0) had eight players play 20 minutes or more and to continue on the theme of team basketball, the Ducks had five players in double figures and had 22 assists.

"We always have a goal to be over 20 assists a game," Oregon forward Luke Jackson said. Jackson finished with 21 points, seven assists and five boards. He garnered Player of the Game honors with that performance.

Oregon did move the ball very well tonight against the Herd's defense. The Ducks made the extra pass necessary in order to find the open man, especially around the perimeter. As a team, Oregon finished 12-25 from long distance. James Davis was the recipient of many passes around the outside that led to his 4-6 shooting from long range. Davis finished with 16 points in 20 minutes off the bench one game after serving a suspension that kept him from playing against Portland State. The senior guard from Vancouver, Washington looked like the James Davis that Duck fans watched last year with his confidence from outside.

(PHOTO RIGHT) Oregon's James Davis shoots over Marshall's LaVar Carter in the first half Saturday, Dec, 6, 2003, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/John Klicker)

Davis also showed confidence in running the floor. With just under 14 minutes to play in the first half, the Ducks flew down the court on a fast break. Davis came down the left wing and had a Marshall (2-3) defender on him. He saw Jackson streaking down the middle of the key and threw a one-handed, underhand pass to the senior from Cresswell for a thunderous dunk that brought the subdued Rose Garden crowd to its feet.

"James Davis, tonight, completely embraced his role with this team," Oregon Head Coach, Ernie Kent, said. Oregon also played great defense on Marshall all night long. The Ducks forced them into 25 turnovers, 16 of which were in the first half. The Herd also only shot 38 percent in the second half and just over 43 percent for the game.

"We run a motion style of offense," Marshall Head Coach, Ron Jirsa, said. We're trying to screen and hit the open man, and when you're being played by quickness (like Oregon's), it's tough for us to get into the creases that we have. We weren't able to create any open people."

It was very important for Oregon to stop Marshall's sharp shooting guard, Ronny Dawn. The 6 foot 3 junior is Marshall's top three-point shooter and actually hit seven long-range bombs against Kentucky earlier this year. Oregon totally stopped Dawn and held him to only three points, coming off of one three pointer, in the entire game.

"We focused all week; we told ourselves that (Dawn) wouldn't touch the ball," Jackson said. "We denied him every time he was on the strong side. It was effective, he didn't get many touches."

Oregon center Ian Crosswhite, who finished with 14 points in 20 minutes, had another great night shooting the ball. After going 7-10 from the floor against Portland State on Tuesday, Crosswhite went 4-6 in this game and 5-5 from the free throw line.

Oregon's Andre Joseph and Brandon Lincoln both reached double figures. Joseph finished with 14 points and Lincoln with 10 off of 4-6 shooting in 20 minutes.

(PHOTO LEFT) Oregon's Mitch Platt, left, has his dunk attempt blocked by Marshalls' Mark Patton during the second half Saturday, Dec., 6, 2003, at the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore. Oregon won 90-61. (AP Photo/ John Klicker)

With 6:28 to go in the ballgame, one of Oregon's starters and key pieces to the team, Mitch Platt went down near the Oregon bench. He crawled over and was quickly examined by the medical personnel. Preliminary word on the injury said it was a high ankle sprain on his left ankle; however Kent said that they wouldn't know for sure until it is x-rayed.

Kent said that they hope to have center Matt Short, who is recovering from an injury of his own, ready for some minutes against Kansas on Saturday, December 13th. They will also look at Ray Schafer, a seven-foot freshman center from Alaska who was a possible redshirt this year, as another option for a replacement for Platt if one is needed.

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