Whether it was senior transfer Chris Boucher dominating the opening tipoff or the rim-rattling dunks and ferocious blocks, it’s evident the Ducks’ roster is full of talented big men, an area that has been lacking in recent years.
The Ducks opened their 2015-16 campaign with a 92-44 victory over the Northwest Christian Beacons. Dillon Brooks led the way with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Highly recruited freshman Tyler Dorsey chipped in with 15 points of his own.
After a slow start, the Ducks used a 12-0 run to surge in front of the Beacons. Clogging the passing lanes and contesting every shot, the Ducks tenacious defense led to countless transition layups by Brooks and senior Elgin Cook.
Although an exhibition game, the Ducks dominated all aspects of the game, especially points in the paint, points off turnovers and 2nd chance points. The Ducks forced 17 turnovers, led by Casey Benson’s 4 steals.
The most intriguing statistic on the night was the 58 total rebounds that the Ducks collected.
This bruising style of basketball was uncommon to see and contradicted the normal up tempo and perimeter style offense that coach Altman has been accustomed to running.
In a postgame interview Altman addressed the unfamiliar play style by admitting that 66 points in the paint is incredible, but not something to get used to. Altman preached the importance of moving the ball around the perimeter and cutting to the basket, occasionally dropping it into the post.
With talented and athletic big men in Boucher (7 blocks) and Dwayne Benjamin (13 points and 8 boards) this Ducks team will create countless mismatches with any team in the Pac-12.
I had the opportunity to speak with NCU senior guard Nick Sullivan who tallied 9 points for the Beacons.
Sullivan’s response to my question, “What was the toughest part about facing the Ducks?” reaffirms the versatility of the Ducks. “This is a really tough, physical, and athletic Duck team.
“They are relentless crashing the glass and get a ton of offensive rebounds. They are hard to match up with their size and strength.”
Mathew Knight Arena was electric with the return of the high-flying Ducks. This season should be full of exciting games as the Ducks look to be a real contender for the Pac-12 championship and NCAA tournament.