After a poor second half of shooting against USC on Thursday, the Oregon Ducks team submitted its most complete game of the year yesterday afternoon, scorching the UCLA Bruins 82-64 before a crowd of 7,301 people at Matthew Knight Arena.
The Ducks (14-6, 4-3 Pac-12) started the game playing solid team basketball, something head coach Dana Altman has been emphasizing in practices throughout this week. This young Oregon squad quickly learned the benefits of good ball movement, forcing the Bruins to create double teams, which in turn opened up passing lanes and allowed players to take good, open shots.
— Pac-12 Networks (@Pac12Networks) January 24, 2015
It also helped that Oregon couldn’t miss the basket. The team was shooting 75 percent (18-for-24) from the field and a mind-blowing 86 percent (6-for-7) from three-point land by halftime.
Senior Joseph Young led the Ducks with 16 points and four rebounds. The difference in Oregon’s performance today, however, was that a total of five Ducks scored in double digits, providing much needed offensive support for Young’s consistent scoring abilities.
Freshman Ahmaad Rorie, who finished the game with 10 points and a perfect shooting performance (4-4 field goals, 2-2 3-pts.), gave the Ducks their first points of the game, nailing a pull-up jumper, and later a three pointer which put Oregon up 11-7. Young then sank a difficult three point shot which inspired a roof-raising dunk by freshman Jordan Bell on the ensuing drive.
The Ducks went on to make 16 of their first 20 shots and went into halftime with a 46-31 lead. At the end of the first half, the Ducks had made 6 of 7 from behind the arc and shot 75 percent from the field.
The Bruins appeared to wake up in the second half, making six of their own first seven shots, but it just wasn’t enough as the Ducks continued to score. The Oregon offense looked comfortable maintaining long possessions with efficient passing. Often, at least four players touched the ball before taking a shot.
The Ducks finished the day shooting 62 percent from the field. The Bruins were dismal from the three point line, shooting 29 percent, and 41 percent from the field. The most impressive contributions came from the Oregon bench, outscoring the Bruins 29-5. Dwayne Benjamin led the Oregon bench with 15 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists.
Elgin Cook finished with 11 points and Jalil-Abdul Bassit had 10 points. Bell finished with six points, five assists, seven rebounds, and two blocked shots. Bell now has 68 blocks on the season and is the Oregon single season leader in blocked shots. Norman Powell led the Bruins with 23 points, and Kevin Looney and Bryce Alford each tallied 15 in the losing cause.
Duck fans also saw the debut of Israeli Junior National Team player and freshman Roman Sorkin, who made his first basket as a Duck toward the final minutes of the game. The 6’10” power forward became eligible to play immediately, joining center Michael Chandler as Oregon’s big men.
After a successful sweep of both visiting Los Angeles schools, the Ducks will travel to play #7 Arizona on Wednesday, Jan. 28th at 10 pm EST.
Top photo by John Sperry