Ducks over Howard 91-55

The Oregon Ducks (6-4) got back onto the winning track by outdistancing Howard (1-6) 91-55 on Tuesday night at McArthur Court on the campus of the University of Oregon. Five Ducks scored in double figures led by Malik Hairston's 22 points. The Ducks were scintillating from the field shooting 60 percent on 35-of-58. Oregon also recorded 25 assists for the night many pick up off transition and the Ducks kept their focus on the game from tip-off to final whistle.

(PHOTO) Oregon's Bryce Taylor, left, dunks the ball against Howard's Darek Mitchell, right, in the second half of their NCAA basketball game, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2005, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

"I thought they did a nice job of responding and keeping their focus throughout the course of the game," Oregon's head coach Ernie Kent told the Oregon Sports Network after the game. "Sometimes it is hard to play in those games when you get up by 20 or 30 points. I thought we did a nice job to start the game, the middle of the game was very, very good, flawless. Then we did a good job of closing out the game as well."

Brandon Lincoln and Bryce Taylor both added 15 apiece while Maarty Leunen had 14 and Aaron Brooks contributed 10.

Darek Mitchell had 20 for Howard while Darryl Hudson added 14.

The Ducks were hot from the field all night finding their rhythm shooting 11-of-24 from the 3-point arc.

Brooks not only finished the game with 10 points but also had 10 assists. What impressed Kent most about Brooks' performance was how well Brooks protected the ball.

"I think it was his first double-double of his career and what a great job," Kent said of Brooks' night. "But more importantly it was 10 points, 10 assists with zero turnovers in 30 minutes of play."

Kent thought the biggest statistic of the night for his team was the 25 assists of the total 30 baskets scored by Oregon. Kent also pointed to the transition game and mentioned that facing a smaller, quicker Howard required the Ducks to depend on the guard play. Even thought the tallest Howard player on the court stood only 6-7, the Ducks were able to match the speed and athleticism. Oregon sparingly used centers Matt Short and Ray Schafer while Ivan Johnson did not play at all.

"The transition game was really good the defense really got us going they started off hitting some buckets early on, too many 3s so we had to change the line up early on," said Kent of the contest. "It was not a big man game tonight."

Admittedly, Howard is not in the same category of opponent that the Ducks have face so far in December. With losses to Illinois, Vanderbilt, Georgetown and New Mexico, the Ducks needed to dominate the home and they did.

"The opponent was obviously not the Illinois or Vanderbilts and people like that we have played," observed Kent "It was at the Pit (and not) an away game but it was a game we needed to dominate (and) we did."

The Ducks will face the University of Portland on Thursday night in a game that could be a positive springboard into the Pac-10 season. The game at the Chiles Center on the campus of the University of Portland is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip-off time.

"The game for us right now is the one sitting up there in Portland on Thursday," observed Kent. "They've beaten Oregon State, they've beaten Portland State, and they want to sweep the state."

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