It is March, and a Dana Altman-coached basketball team is playing. A new rotation was introduced in Oregon’s final game.
The Ducks had not much going for them on the road for their first game in the National Invitation Tournament. They lost five of six games, and were again without Will Richardson, their leading scorer. Richardson and NFaly Dante, starting center, didn’t make it to Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. Both were suffering from a non COVID-related illness.
The game was split into two halves. The halftime locker room was a success because of what Altman said to his players. After a 4th-point deficit with 20 minutes to play, the Ducks (20-14), handled the Aggies (18-16), 83-72 to give Altman his 300th win in Oregon as coach.
The Ducks relied heavily on Quincy Guerrier and Jacob Young to kick start their offense during the Pac-12 tournament. The pair averaged over 20 points during the two Las Vegas games. However, early foul trouble limited their ability quickly to reproduce.
Altman said, “I just thought the guys stayed apart.” Jacob was able to get it going in the second part. Quincy had a difficult start with the two fouls. But, the guys stuck together.
Rivaldo Soares was able to make his first start of this year and helped out early. He scored the team’s first basket and finished with 13, as the Ducks quickly took a 10-2 lead.
Altman said that Waldo gave us a huge lift. I thought he did an amazing job.
Justin Bean was eliminated completely, and the defensive end was the focus. The Aggies’ leading scorer and rebounder didn’t get going. He scored only 9.
Utah State put together a pair 11 point runs, thanks to a series of Steven Ashworth 3 point baskets. But Oregon didn’t look discouraged. They continued to hold Bean down and managed to hang on, never letting the lead exceed double digits.
Devion Harmon was contacted by the Ducks to help them combat the runs. He accepted the hostile environment and put on an excellent clinic. He scored 16 points of his 19 in the first quarter and was the only bright spot for the team during that stretch.
Devion led us in the first period, and I thought he made some excellent plays in the second, Altman stated. It was a team effort that I liked.
The team was in a similar situation as the first half, with no other Duck scoring more than 4.
The team was 6 points behind at halftime in Colorado’s previous game. They fell apart down the stretch. Oregon seized the momentum after being down 4 against Utah State
Young scored his shot, and the defense grew their dominance. Harmon was a grad-transfer and scored 13 of his 17 first-half points. Bean was not the only Aggie struggling with scoring.
Halftime saw both teams shoot 42.5% from their field. The Aggies couldn’t match the performance in the second half. Oregon improved their shooting, shooting at over 50% and stifling the Aggies’ barrage of shots behind the arc.
The Ducks regained the lead with 18:37 left on a Young layup, and they held onto it until final. With just 2 minutes left, Williams Jr.’s layup increased the lead to 17. As backups completed the game, the starters on both teams began to withdraw.
Altman said it was a fun game for the men.
Altmans squad now has to travel to Texas to take on the No. Altman’s squad will next travel to Texas to face the No. 1 seeded Aggies at A&M. Richardson and Dante might still be out, but Dante and the Ducks will continue to work towards improving their second round NIT exit in 2018.