Ducks hit the road

The Oregon Ducks (4-0) make the first road trip of the year on Wednesday when they travel to Nashville, Tennessee to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores, in a game that will be televised live on the Oregon Sports Network with tip-off scheduled for 6 p.m. PST. The Ducks hope to extend an 11-game win streak for the month of November with a win over Vanderbilt. The Ducks beat the Commodores in 75-65 at the Papè Jam in Portland's Rose Garden last season.

(PHOTO ABOVE) Oregon's Chamberlain Oguchi, left, dunks the ball over Savannah State's Andre Douglas, middle, and Joseph Flegler, bottom, on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2005, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

Oguchi had 19 points in the first game of the season against Savannah in just 18 minutes of play. It also marked the fourth time in his career that Oguchi has averaged at least a point a minute.

"He was one of two college players to play for the Nigerian national team this summer, which I think did wonders for his confidence as a player," said Oregon Head Coach Ernie Kent of Oguchi after the opener against Savannah State.

(PHOTO RIGHT) Oregon's Bryce Taylor is fouled under the basket by Bowie State's Brent Campbell, left, as Jacque Pate, (44), helps out in the second half during the Ducks Open Hispanic College Fund Classic in Eugene, Ore., Monday, Nov. 21, 2005. (AP Photo/Thomas Boyd)

Taylor has a two game streak going on in double figure scoring. He had 11 against Rice and 16 against Pacific. Ivan Johnson has a 3-game double-figure-scoring streak. Johnson had 10 against Rice, 14 against Pacific and Bowie State.

Coach Kent sees great potential in the Ducks ability to score provided that a fundamental of basketball is maintained.

"We can be an excellent scoring team, as long as we defend and play good defense, that will open up the transition game and give us another dimension," observed Kent of his team.

(PHOTO LEFT) Oregon's Malik Hairston, right, goes for a dunk over Pacific's Anthony Esparza during the second half of the Ducks Open Hispanic College Fund Classic in Eugene, Ore., Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2005. Oregon defeated Pacific 84-62. (AP Photo/Kevin Clark).

Hairston has had double figures in scoring for all four games so far this season. He had 12 in the opener against Savannah State and followed up with 10 the next night against Bowie State. On Wednesday night against Pacific, Hairston was the game high scorer with 17 and on Saturday night he had 14 against Rice.

The game against Vanderbilt will be far the biggest challenge of the season so far. The Commodores are also off to a 4-0 start having just polished off Georgetown (the Ducks opponent on Saturday at McArthur Court in Eugene), 68-61. Kent has described the first road trip as a good thing in that it will give his team adversity away from the friendly confines of Mac Court.

"Once we get away from our home court and the great Mac Court fans, we know we will have to depend on each other," said Kent of his team's first road trip to Vanderbilt. "Being in a hostile environment forces you to come together, and rely on each other."

The Ducks will face Illinois on December 10th at the Rose Garden in Portland in the annual Papè Jam. According the Jere Hanks, ESPN Plus, that the Ducks expect a similar sized crowd that saw the Ducks defeat Kansas, 84-78 in 2002 in front of a national television audience.

"We encourage Duck fans to come out," said Hanks of the Papè Jam. "There are still plenty of affordable tickets available for the games."

The Papè Jam will kick off this year with at 2:30 p.m. when the Oregon Women will take on Prairie View A&M followed at approximately 5 p.m. with the Men's game against Illinois.

Tickets are available through ticketmaster.

(PHOTO RIGHT) Oregon's Jordan Kent, front left, works the ball under the basket against Rice's Patrick Britton during the second half in Eugene, Ore., on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2005. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

Kent returned to the hardwood after the conclusion of the regular football season. Kent, a wide receiver for Mike Bellotti's Ducks, had three catches for 114 yards and a 68-yard touchdown reception in his first year wearing football pads. Once back on the floor against Rice, Kent had a point, a rebound and a steal in 8 minutes of action. He is expected to see more playing time in basketball as he gets into basketball condition.

Kent also has one more football game to play -- the yet to be determined bowl game for the Ducks, a team that finished 10-1 and ranked 7th in the BCS standings.

Kent is the first three-sport letterman (football-basketball-track) at Oregon since the World War II era.

Tip-off for the Oregon-Vanderbilt game is 6 p.m. PST. The game will be televised on OSN with Joe Giansante and Rob Closs. The game will be shown in the Portland area on Comcast 14. KEZI (Eugene), KDRV (Medford) and KDKF (Klamath Falls) will also broadcast the contest. The game will also be carried live on the radio on the 14-station Oregon Sports Network with Jerry Allen calling the action.

The game is also available online on OZone.

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