Dunigan, Ducks Dominate Arkansas-Pine Bluff

A sluggish first half start left many wondering if the Ducks would hand Arkansas-Pine Bluff their first victory of the season. However, behind a career night by Michael Dunigan and a strong performance behind a seemingly healthy Tajuan Porter, Oregon erased all doubt in the second half, cruising to a 73-53 win in their non-conference finale.

It began as a truly forgettable first half for Oregon as they shot an anemic 36 percent from the field, displayed sloppy band-handling, and lead by a scant three point margin at halftime against an Arkansas-Pine Bluff squad still searching for their first tally in the win column. Yet, the Oregon men wouldn't allow for complacency or lackadaisical play to prevail as they rode Malcolm Armstead (14 points, 8 assists), Tajuan Porter (15 points), and a career-high 26 point scoring effort from sophomore center Michael Dunigan to a convincing victory over the Golden Lions on Monday night.

Dunigan's breakout performance has seemed to be due for quite some time after registering strong outings in his previous two games.

"Like coach said in the beginning," said Dunigan, "just leave it all out on the floor.

"Know your job and do your job is the saying that's going around. My job is just to run the floor after we get the rebound and just staying around the basket and getting the most of my points."

Senior guard Tajuan Porter returned to action once again after missing the Ducks' previous game vs. Idaho State with a nagging ankle injury. Porter, however, showed no ill effects this evening, returning to his explosive scoring form by contributing 15 points on a sizzling 5-of-7 shooting performance from behind the arc. Tonight's performance moved Porter in to the top ten all-time at Oregon in terms of career points, surpassing former Duck and current NBA player, Aaron Brooks.

"It's a great accomplishment," admitted Porter, "Aaron Brooks is a great player right now who is in the NBA, so I kind of look up to him and keep in contact with him...I just have to leave my mark and finish my career out on a good note."

The true highlight of the night however was delivered in second half by Garrett Sim just as the Ducks were putting the finishing touches on a 20-point win. With just minutes to play, the 6-1 guard from Beaverton drove baseline and threw down an emphatic one-handed jam over an Arkansas-Pine Bluff player that ignited a frenzy inside an astonished Mac Court.

"Oh man!" said an excited Dunigan, "Last year he dunked on Kamyron Brown on a fast break and we've just been waiting for it all year.

"We're just like, 'G, when are you gonna dunk it on somebody?' When he gets a fast break he just lays the ball in, but I guess he just decided to himself that he was gonna dunk this one. He dunked it and he sent us all up. We've been waiting for it."

Oregon finishes non-conference play riding a four game winning streak and an 8-4 overall record as they head to Pullman on Thursday to lock horns with an unranked, but talented Washington State squad who sits at 10-2. Oregon head coach Ernie Kent currently likes where his team's confidence is at, but added that it needs to continue to grow heading in to Pac-10 play.

"A road victory (during the Washington trip) would be huge, HUGE, for this team in terms of their confidence and their mental psyche to push them over a big hurdle right now and then come back a defend Mac Court again."

Tip-off from Friel Court in Pullman is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on New Year's Eve.


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