Duck Men Sink Pilots

One thing missing from the Oregon men's basketball non-conference games, this year, was the nice, easy win. Well, they got one tonight. The hot University of Portland Pilots came to Mac Court and the Ducks quickly cooled them off coming away with a big win, 92-67.

"I thought the whole game was a great game for us," Oregon Head Coach Ernie Kent told OSN.

One player who had a particularly great game for the Ducks was Malik Hairston. The freshman scored a career high 20 points on 9-13 shooting in just 27 minutes. He also grabbed six boards. His effort led the way on a team that, at times, couldn't miss.

The Ducks shot a remarkable 58.5 percent from the floor in a very face-paced game and at one point late in the first half, Oregon (8-1) was up over 75 percent from the field. Meanwhile, the Oregon defense held the Pilots (9-4) to just over 42 percent shooting.

"You don't have good offense if you don't have good defense," Kent said.

Oregon held a lead of 45-19 with just over 3:30 to go in the first half after a 17-2 run sparked by a pair of baskets each by Aaron Brooks and Kenny Love. The Ducks were in control, or at least it seemed like they were.

Portland's Darren Cooper scored his only five points of the game when he nailed a baseline jumper and a transition three pointer on back-to-back possessions. Then Pooh Jeter, who finished the game with 22 points, closed the half with seven straight of his own for a 12-0 Portland run as they cut the Duck lead to 14.

The Pilot run didn't worry the Ducks, though, as they calmly built the lead back up to 18, then 21, then 24 after Brandon Lincoln nailed a jumper with 8:16 left. This game was all Ducks and despite Portland's best efforts, there was nothing they could do about it.

Throughout the game, it was Hairston's poignant but nothing flashy scoring that continually put down any Pilot thoughts of a comeback.

Along with Hairston, Brooks also added 17 points and six assists. Mitch Platt also added eight points, seven boards and a pair of blocks in 22 minutes. Platt's seven rebounds helped the Ducks to a 41-26 rebounding advantage over Portland. Jordan Kent also tallied nine points in 17 minutes off the bench.

Once again, no Duck played more than 27 minutes, with all but two playing less than 25.

Although the game was an up and down the floor track meet, many of Oregon's 38 buckets came from set plays.

"I thought we ran great half court offense," Kent said. "It was the best we've run it all year."

Ernie Kent said that this game is a perfect lead-in to the games against USC and UCLA this coming weekend.

"The prep we used for this game is almost identical to what we'll do for USC and UCLA," he told OSN.

Friday's game against USC will be the Pac-10 opener and will be very important for the Ducks as they try to get off on the right foot in conference play.

USC is 7-4 with their losses coming to North Carolina, Fresno State, LaSalle and Hawaii. The Trojans did roll over the Southern Jaguars on Tuesday, 91-58, behind 20 points from Lodrick Stewart. With the game in Eugene, a hostile environment can be expected for the Trojans.

"The crowd (in Mac Court) was great tonight but this place will just be on fire for us on Friday," Kent told OSN.

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