Sam Felton, Sports Reporter for FishDuck.com, writes from Matt Knight Arena in Eugene, Oregon.
The Ducks continued their unbeaten streak as they defeated the visiting Savannah State Tigers by a score of 77-59. Coach Dana Altman’s team moves to 3-0 on the season and wins its second game in the Global Sports Shootout tournament.
Chris Boucher has become a household name for announcer Don Essig. Boucher finished with 17 points, 8 rebounds and 2 more blocks. Boucher has been a menace on the glass as well as an enforcer on defense.
After playing so well in their previous game against Baylor, the Ducks offense got off to a sluggish start versus the Tigers, so Altman used his tenacious defense to create a large lead in the first half. The Ducks used a full-court press and an aggressive 2-3 zone to force the Tigers to go deep into the shot clock and often chuck up unwanted shots.
Altman was able to go deep into his bench, giving Kendal Small, Trevor Manuel and Roman Sorkin substantial minutes.
Sorkin, the 6’10 sophomore, was active around the hoop, tallying 8 points and 5 rebounds. Trevor Manuel provided energy for a Ducks team that was lacking intensity at times.
In the post game news conference, Altman praised the subs for the effort in their increased minutes. Altman and Dillon Brooks couldn’t help but mention how well Small played in his 23 minutes of gameplay.
Brooks commended him when he said, “He ran the team tonight. Both defensively and as a facilitator, Kendal controlled the tempo and played really well.” Brooks believes the team is meshing well and each night another player steps up and plays well.
Small finished with 9 points and 4 assists but had a huge impact for the Ducks on the defensive side of the ball.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Tigers head coach Horace Broadnax following the game. Coach Broadnax acknowledged the tall task that his team faced when entering Mathew Knight Arena last night.
Proud of the way his team battled in the second half, Broadnax gave more insight on why this Ducks team has been so successful this season.
“They were very aggressive on that offensive glass. Initially they would transition extremely well offensively, the big men were running. We were thinking and they were going. I’ve coached against Dana at Creighton and he always has a tendency to demand toughness from his players.”
These comments further depict how athletic this Ducks team can be. With various ball handlers and plenty of slashing, powerful guards and forwards, the Ducks will be able to control the paint. Chip in a few threes from freshman sensation Tyler Dorsey and super sub Dwayne Benjamin, and the Ducks have a balanced attack that can contend in the Pac-12 this season.
Next up for the Ducks are the 5-0 Valparaiso Crusaders on Sunday. Last season, the Crusaders posted a 28-6 record, narrowly losing to Maryland by 3 in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Known as “giant killers,” Valpo will pose a real threat to the Ducks’ undefeated season. Be sure to tune in Sunday night for a great game at MKA.
Top photo by Gary Breedlove