Helping Defense Will Be Required

Portland -- The 19th ranked Oregon Ducks have a big feat on their hands on Saturday against the Utah Utes and center Luke Nevill, one of the biggest players the Ducks have ever faced. The Ducks and Utes square off in the second game of the 10th annual Papè Jam at the Rose Garden in Portland.

"He's a very skilled big man who can really score with his back to the basket," Kent said of Nevill. Maarty's (Leunen) going to have his hands full and we're really going to have to help him on the weakside of the floor with all the stuff they do to try to pound that side."

Nevill, 7-1, 265, 14.4 ppg, 7.9 rpg, according to Kent is in the same category as Ray Hibbert of Georgetown, widely regarded as one of the top draft picks in the 2008 NBA draft. Nevill has the ability to break down defenses by playing with his back to the basket and the Utes will do their best to pound the ball low allowing the big man to use his size to create scoring opportunities.

The Ducks will need to help Leunen, whose job will be to try and slow Nevill down. Last week, Oregon faced a big challenge when they traveled to Manhattan, Kansas to take on the Wildcats of Kansas State and their young prodigy, center Michael Beasley, 6-10, 235. Oregon was able to withstand Beasley's 24 points and 12 rebounds in a 80-77 overtime win, but it took all of Leunen's five fouls and some extra help from Jovan Catron, Bryce Taylor and Tajuan Porter on the weakside. Kent thought the Leunen, Catron, Taylor, Porter plus Malik Hairston all did an admiral job of helping out and they'll need to do the same thing on Saturday.

"If I can continue to pull one from all four and throw in Malik (Hairston) in the mix," said Kent of the weakside help. "That's better than just having one guy when you have a variety of guys you can go to like that in any situation down the stretch."

While Oregon is the one of the top offensive squads in the country, most likely what you'll keep hearing from Kent is defense.

"The continuing thing you are going to see me harping on is our defense because this is a really good offensive team until someone makes some adjustments to slow us down," emphasized Kent. "The better we play defensively the better we are going to be offensively and the more success we are going to have this year."

Tipoff for the men's game is at 3 p.m. The women kick things off at 12:30 p.m. when Oregon takes on UC Santa Barbara.

Tickets are available for the 2007 Papè Jam, with the price ranging from $10 to $25. Tickets may be purchased at the Rose Quarter Box Office, all participating Safeway outlets, ComcastTIX. com or by calling 877.789.ROSE (7673).


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