Well, it wasn't a dominant win like Saturday, but it was still a good win against a much better team than what we played on Saturday. This Pacific team looked much like the Pacific teams that made the tourney three years in a row from '04-'06 then it did the unorganized and dishelved Pepperdine team that we played yesterday. And they made us work for this one.
This game was close throughout the first half, with the Tigers leading for about the first ten minutes. The defensive intensity that we saw in the first half yesterday just wasn't there, and neither was the rebounding. The lack of turnovers, combined with Pacific's pace, did not allow Oregon to get out in transition a whole lot early. Neither team shot very well, but UoP was hitting threes while Oregon was missing free throws. The one Duck who was hot was Tajuan Porter, and it was his well beyond NBA range threes that would bring us back and get us the lead. As soon as TP heated up, and the rebounding began to even out, Oregon pulled away. It was never a lead that made the outcome totally in doubt, but after halftime, you never got the sense that Pacific was going to go on a run, either.
The rotation in this game was not as liberal as the one in the first game. Only Kamyron Brown played significant minutes, and his effect on the game was nowhere near what it was on Saturday. Frantz Dorsainvil and LeKendric Longmire played just a few minutes, and nobody else got off the bench. It was almost like a midseason conference game the way Ernie managed the rotation.
What I did see that I really liked in this game, though, was that Tajuan really answered, at least for the time being, questions I had about him being the primary point. He brought the ball up well, even against pressure, and got to the rim a lot more than I recall at any point last year. If he can get to the rim on a consistent basis, his game will become unstoppable. I still think that you will see him and Kamyron on the floor together a lot (we saw that today), but I feel a lot better about TP by himself.
Oh, and did I mention Malik is a monster?
Western Michigan to close out the tourney tomorrow. Lets make it three for three to open the year.