Eager to prove the experts who ranked Oregon as the eighth best team in the PAC 12 wrong, Joseph Young came out firing. The senior transfer missed his very first shot of the game, a dunk, but then proceeded to shoot 8-11 in the first half, including making 5-7 three point attempts. Young was finally taken out the game with 6:28 left to play, finishing with 32 points on 11-14 shooting and a perfect 4-4 from the free-throw line.
The Ducks did start slow however, with Coppin State jumping out to an 11-2 lead before Young even attempted a shot. Oregon Head Coach Dana Altman called an early timeout looking to fixed the Ducks’ problems. Whatever he said, it must’ve closely resembled that of “Give Joe the freaking ball,” because coming out of the huddle Young hit back to back threes. Coppin State still managed to stay hot, but the Ducks eventually took the lead for good on an Elgin Cook dunk with 12 minutes left in the first half. From that moment on, it was all Ducks as Oregon went on to outscore the Eagles 35-3 to end the half. More importantly, the Ducks held their opponent to zero field goals in the final ten minutes of the half.
Even though it might have felt like it to those watching that Young was the only player on the court, other Ducks players made some impressive, albeit silent, debuts. Freshmen four star prospects Dillon Brooks and Ahmaad Rorie both got starting nods for Altman’s squad, and both put up solid numbers. Brooks finished with 14 points and six rebounds, whereas Rorie managed 10 points and five rebounds. Other Freshmen Casey Benson and Jordan Bell look promising, with Benson scoring 13 points on 5-6 shooting and Bell grabbing a team-high 12 rebounds. Also making a positive impact was junior Elgin Cook, who finished second on the team with 15 points.
When it was all said and done, the Ducks played very well considering that this was their season opener. Here are five quick stats that stood out from the game:
#1: 25 Assists. Sharing the ball is huge, especially for a team still getting to know each other.
#2: 61% shooting from the three point line. Needless to say, keep that number up and a final four berth is practically guaranteed.
#3: 107 points. Coppin State or not, 107 points in 40 minutes is impressive.
#4: 56% shooting from the field. It’s not often that a team has a higher percentage from three than they do as a whole, but hey, I’ll take it.
#5: 14, the number of boards the Ducks out-rebounded the Eagles by.
In the end the Ducks’ 42 point victory may look impressive, but it should be taken with a grain of salt. There are a lot of positives to take from this game, but this is clearly still a team that is getting used to each other, given that there are only four returners from last year. Beating Coppin State is fun, but time will only tell how these young Ducks stack up against the likes of UCLA and Arizona later in the season.
Top Photo by Donald Alarie