Ducks dominate Idaho St. to go to 10-0

The short-handed Oregon Ducks (10-0) defeated Idaho State of the Big Sky Conference 84-55 at MacArthur Court this evening to get off to their best start since the Ducks went 10-0 to begin the `96-97 campaign. Oregon, ranked 22nd in the Associated Press poll, got off to a quick start against the Bengals as Malik Hairston scored six of Oregon's first 11 points.

(PHOTO) Oregon's Malik Hairston goes up under the basket against Idaho State's Demetrius Monroe, left and Logan Kinghorn (4) during the first half of their college basketball game Sunday, Dec. 17, 2006 in Eugene, Ore.. (AP Photo/Brian Davies)

Freshman sensation and Oregon's leading scorer, Tajuan Porter did not play due to a hyper-extended big toe on his left foot. Oregon only dressed nine players for the game as Chamberlain Oguchi continues to recover from a high ankle sprain. Coach Ernie Kent expects both to be ready for Pac-10 play if not before. Additionally, the Oregon student section was absent much of the PIT Crew as finals ended last week and most students have left town.

Oregon led 45-28 at the break behind the stellar play of Hairston who went 6-8 from the floor including 3-4 from three-point range. The Ducks got seven energized minutes off the bench from Ray Schafer who had 4 points and 6 rebounds in his short stint. Oregon shot an impressive 55.2 percent for the half including 47.1 percent from three point range while holding Idaho State to 42.9 percent from the field. Guard Akbar Abdul-Ahad led the Bengals in the first stanza with 11 points while leading scorer David Schroeder chipped in nine.

Oregon quickly expanded it's lead to over 20 points with a quick start to the 2nd half behind a three pointer from Bryce Taylor and a couple of Aaron Brooks buckets. At the 14:56 mark of the 2nd half, the Ducks led comfortably by 27 points at 57-30.

Idaho State figured to be a good test for Oregon after taking both Marquette and BYU to overtime before losing earlier this season. Also, the Bengals played Washington State tough at Pullman before falling 66-60.

However, Oregon cruised to an easy victory and was never seriously challenged by the Bengals. Aaron Brooks led the Ducks with 10 points in the 2nd half and had 18 for the game. Bryce Taylor continued his consistently high-level play with 14 points for the game to go with seven rebounds and a career-high seven assists. Taylor said that he is prepared to do whatever "my team needs me to do" to be successful. Taylor has been in double-figures for each of Oregon's games this year.

Hairston led the Ducks with 21 and tied a career-high with 12 rebounds to go along with 3 blocked shots. Oregon shot 53.3 percent for the game, reaching the 50 percent mark for the third consecutive game. Oregon also set a season-high with 23 assists. The plus 18 in rebound margin was also a season high for the Ducks. All of the Ducks who dressed for the game scored. Abdul-Ahad led the Bengals with 15 points on the game.

Kent was pleased with the performance calling it "business like" and hopes the Ducks can make it to the Christmas break undefeated. Kent observed that Oregon is "sharing the ball" well and playing very unselfish basketball.

Notes: The current 10 game winning streak is the longest of Kent's tenure at Oregon.

Joevan Catron got his first start as a Duck in place of the injured Porter.

Oregon's next game is Saturday December 23 against Mercer at The Pit. Tip-off is scheduled for 1:00 PM.

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