Eugene, Ore. – From Media Row at Matt Knight Arena, KeAndre Derrick, Basketball Correspondent for FishDuck.com reporting.
Western Oregon started tonight’s game playing very aggressively and confidently after their last win against the Beavers. The Ducks started off a little slow, playing just a bit passively, not showing that sense of urgency as well as giving up a lot of offensive rebounds. The University of Oregon (UO) made a nice run to get back in the lead midway through the first half as junior college transfer Dwayne Benjamin hit back-to-back 3’s and Theo Friedman added a 3-pointer of his own to help the Ducks get their lead. Elgin Cook ended the first half with a 3-point play to give the Ducks the 48-37 lead at halftime. The Ducks gave up eight offensive rebounds to end the first half which definitely hurt them early. Leading the Ducks at the end of the first half were Dwayne Benjamin with 10 points and Elgin Cook and Dillon Brooks adding nine points each.
After seven minutes of play to start the second half, the Ducks got out and ran to push the lead to 67-45 with a tremendous alley-oop play from Joe Young connecting with Jordan Bell. The key to the Ducks making a nice run would come from getting stops on the defensive end, turnovers and converting on the break or at the free throw line. At the six minute mark of the second half, the Ducks pushed the lead to 90-53 as UO continued to defend Western Oregon tightly to break the game open. The Ducks got out on the break and finished with either dunks or lay-ups. During this monstrous run, Dwayne Benjamin really showcased his athletic ability with two bashing dunks of his own. These runs were made possible by the Ducks’ ability to get deflections and opportunities for some easy baskets in transition.
Leading the way for the Oregon Ducks were Dwayne Benjamin with 22 points on 10-13 shooting from the field and six rebounds. Senior forward Elgin Cook and freshman forward Dillon Brooks also led the way for the Ducks with 19 points and 17 points respectively.
In the second half Oregon was able to clamp down on the defensive end of the floor which also led to the Ducks’ big win tonight. ” We did a better job of being aware of the screens, switching and good job hedging the screens as well and crashing the defensive boards,” said senior forward Elgin Cook. The running Ducks also were able to handle the press that Western Oregon played with solid passes and penetration to break the press. Head Coach Dana Altman stated, ” We have to find a way to move Elgin around to get some shots and move Joe around to find a way to get him some shots as well. I thought they looked the most comfortable taking shots.” The Ducks’ next match-up will be Friday, November 14 against Coppin State at 9 p.m.
Top and third photos by Craig Strobeck