Okay, take out the last couple of minutes, and this was pretty much the Butler game. A so-so first half, then we really broke open the game in the second half, building an 18 point lead. And we would need every bit of it, as sloppy passing allowed UNLV to press us and get back into it. Those last two minutes were really ugly. The press break is something that Ernie will surely be working on in practice today.
For all the talk of the vaunted UNLV defense, the Oregon defense was better. Yes, UNLV largely shut down Taylor and Brooks, but had no answer for Tajuan Porter. For most of the second half, the Oregon defense completely shut down UNLV's entire offense. Like Winthrop, UNLV resorted to jacking up threes, and promptly missed eleven in a row. And on almost all of those, there was a Duck hand right in a Rebel face. UNLV, a team known for their potent shooting, was held to 38%. So the million dollar question: Why the hell was this a four point game? The answer is easy: 18 offensive rebounds and 17 Oregon turnovers gave UNLV lots of opportunities. They had 26 more field goal attempts than we did, and actually made five more shots. That we had more threes and free throws won the game for us. These have to be the two areas of focus going into the Florida game. If we allow Florida that many extra opportunities, we are going to get blown out.
- What can you say about Tajuan Porter? Give him an inch to shoot, and he is unstoppable. And he has become quite a pest on defense. Maybe the best game by any Duck this year.
- Aaron Brooks had a rough game scoring with only eight points, but he also had the wisdom to know that Oregon didn't need him to score a bunch of buckets. He ran the offense well, with five assists and nice spacing and ball movement. He was also a royal pain on defense, not only getting three steals, but getting a hand in a Reb face on lots of three point attempts. Overall, not a bad game, though he needs to pick up his scoring against the Gators.
- Great game by Malik Hairston. Efficient offense, with 14 points on eight shots, but, more importantly, he helped the big guys patrol the inside defensively, and came up with ALL the crucial rebounds en route to a double-double. Malik has to keep up this rebounding next game. Excellent effort by him.
- Mixed game by Maarty Leunen. He had a double-double, hitting a couple of big threes and grabbing ten boards, but he missed a lot of box outs that led to easy Rebel put backs. And he was out of place a few more times on defense that led to a few more easy points. The good news is that these are minor things, which can be fixed by next game.
- Rough game all around for Bryce Taylor. We know that Mr. Consistency won't have two of those in a row.
- Really nice game by Joevan Catron. 24 minutes, four points, seven boards, and pretty darn good defense. Now, if he can just improve his footwork and avoid the travel. But he is clearly not afraid to bang down low, and this playing time will be good for him, as I believe he'll play a lot against the Gators.
BRING ON THE GATORS!