Ducks Drop One in Papè Jam

Portland – The young Oregon Ducks couldn't hit a shot to save their life in the first half against the San Diego Toreros and end up losing 64-57 in front of a reported crowd of 8,347 at the Rose Garden. Oregon shot a miserable 25 percent from the floor in the first half and despite a good defensive effort in the second half the Ducks were too deep in the scoring deficit.

(PHOTO) USD's Gyno Pomare (21) dominated the Ducks with 16 points on 8-10 shooting. (Photo by Chris Wilson)

"Overall I thought we started a little flat," said Kent of his team's performance. "As the half went on we really got better defensively but we just couldn't buy a bucket and you're going to have nights like that where you don't shoot the ball very well."

While the Ducks tried to find a shooter and some rhythm, today's game against San Diego was a matter of youth against some experience – and experience won out. San Diego's Bill Grier (Oregon Class '90) was very concerned with Oregon's speed and wanted his players to control the tempo of the game. Grier's plan was successful. While clearly happy for his team's win, Grier conceded that going into the game the San Diego coach wasn't sure if his team could handle the Duck's pressure game. Noting that while very young, Oregon is loaded with great athletes, it was important for the Toreros not to get into a running game with Oregon. Consequently his team was very patient and relied on three players that gave Oregon some match up problems. Grier's plan worked so well that the Ducks only managed 17 points in the first half. Asked if that was part of the game plan, Grier could only laugh.

"I would be lying if I said we could hold the to 17," replied Grier to the question.

The man that did the most damage to Oregon scoring wise was center Gyno Pomare who was 8-of-10 for 16 points and eight rebounds. Teammate Chris Lewis added 15 while Rob Jones ended up with 14. San Diego shot 55.8 percent of the game on 24-43 field goal shooting including 6-of-11 in 3-pointers. They also were 10-for-18 from the charity stripe.

Pomare was named the game's most valuable player.

Meanwhile the Ducks shot and missed to the tune of 21-for-60 or 35 percent and sadly for this team, second half shooting improved the field goal percentage. Tajuan Porter led all scorers with 118 points as he warmed up in the second half but it was way too little too late. Garrett Sim had hoped coming back to the Rose Garden would be a coming home party for the Portland native, but he ended up with five points and was 1-for-9 in field goal shooting. While it may be painful to look at the box score for this game, Sim gained a fan in Grier.

"Garrett Sim is going to be a good player in this league," said Grier.

LeKendric Longmire finished the game with 12 points. Joevan Catron seeing his first action entered the game midway through the first half and added eight points. Also back in action was Michael Dunigan, who played 21 minutes but did not score though he did haul down five rebounds.

This was a game that the Ducks must use as a learning experience. While the shooting touch was missing Oregon did hang around in the later part of the game and managed to trim the lead to six with under a minute left in the contest. The young Ducks have already proved that they can shoot the ball and now it is a matter of realizing that there will be games when shooting won't be as easy. The Ducks did the right thing by playing hard at the defensive end and in time even when the shooting touch is off, if they keep playing they will have success.

"For a young basketball team you've got to teach them how to grind," observed Kent. "Grind through practices and grind through games and we got away from that a little bit this week and it cost us."

Kent will now take his team back to the practice court and work both Catron and Dunigan back into the flow. Oregon's next game is next Wednesday at McArthur Court in Eugene against St. Mary's.

Official Box Score

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