The Oregon Ducks men’s basketball team muscled out a win Monday night against Detroit — a win they had to grind out and earn. For a young Ducks team, every game is an opportunity to gain experience individually and collectively. Ultimately, the success of this team will come down to whether or not it responds quickly to adversity, and makes the appropriate adjustments throughout the course of a game. Here are three important things that head coach Dana Altman emphasized about the game.
1. “There’s a fine line between being aggressive and taking bad shots.”
Despite their win, the Ducks struggled offensively in the first half. Joseph Young, the Ducks’ current leading scorer, didn’t make his first field goal attempt until the second half. Senior Jalil Abdul-Bassit and freshman Dillon Brooks stepped up and made some shots that kept the Ducks in the game. Young eventually found his stroke, racking up 22 points in the second half. The Ducks showed us last night that each player is capable of scoring quickly and effectively. But the Ducks were impatient at times, forcing shots that just weren’t there.”We were in a hurry offensively; on a number of possessions we didn’t make them guard very long and we took questionable shots. I like them having confidence and I want them to be aggressive, but there is a fine line between being aggressive and taking bad shots. Sometimes our guys get going a little too fast,” Altman said.
2. “We chased down some rebounds and got some second shots. That was a big part of the second half of the game.”
The game was a tale of two Oregon teams. In the second half, the Ducks found a rhythm. Freshman Dwayne Benjamin led the team with seven rebounds and freshman Jordan Bell added five, helping the Ducks with second chance looks. The Ducks capitalized, adding 11 points from second chance shots. Detroit had none. This was arguably the difference-maker in the game. Altman said, “It’s the defense and the boards that we have to keep working at. You don’t really have a lot guys that go out of their area to get a rebound and Jordan (Bell) did that tonight, which is a really good sign for us.”
3. “Offensively, I think we feel pretty good about our guys.”
While Altman has been honest in his assessment of his team, he has confidence in each of his players. If the Ducks can learn to be more physical on defense, they can create opportunities for Young and Co. to shine. Oregon has a tough non-conference road ahead. The four-game Progressive Legends Classic continues with the Ducks playing a physical Toledo team this Friday at Matt Knight Arena — a difficult test early, but a learning experience regardless of the outcome. And experience is one thing this Oregon team needs.
Top Photo by Craig Strobeck