Senior leadership and a little luck goes a long way. Joevan Catron had a career high 27 points on 9-14 shooting from the field as the Ducks pulled away from the North Dakota St. Bison in overtime, 97-92. This was a tightly fought game through out with 21 lead changes. Oregon had a tough go of it in the first half, going on a few dry spells from the field and went into halftime down by 2. As the second half started, the Ducks made 3 out of 4 shots and looked to take control before North Dakota St. fought their way back. In overtime, the Ducks missing their first 3 shots, trailing by as much as 5 but a big 3-point shot by Jay-R Strowbridge and a follow up three by Teondre Williams gave the Ducks the lead. With 29 seconds to go and Oregon down by 1, Catron hit a jumper to take the lead for good as the Ducks went on to a victory in the opening game of the season.
Malcolm Armstead didn't see much of the floor because of foul trouble and struggled when he was out there, turning the ball over 5 times and shooting only 2-9 from the field. That being said, I really liked the play of Johnathan Loyd off the bench. He made some critical free throws down the stretch, had a couple of key rebounds at key times and had 8 assists. He couldn't put the ball in the hole but the play of Jay-R Strowbridge made up for it and then some with 18 points on 7-14 shooting. Garrett Sim had two important plays to start the second half. The first, a three point shot to get things going and an assist on an EJ Singler three that gaves the Ducks a 4 point lead after being down two at the break.
Some Notes From Dave: The full court press was really effective early, but as we wore down, NDSU started to beat it. Way, way, way too many fouls and offensive rebounds allowed. Catron was pretty out of control early on but then settled in and was dominant in the second half. And Strowbridge goes to the hoop strong and finishes. He has a really good first step. Defense was putting in the effort. A lot of the fouls were from overdoing it and that will be cleaned up with coaching and experience
I agree with Dave's assessment in that the press was effective but we got worn down which caused some fouls and easy buckets. This will get better as we go through the season and build our depth through recruiting. There was a lot to like in this game. Lots of room for improvement on all sides of the ball but given where this program was last year and over the summer, this is a great start to the season.
Next Game: Saturday November 13th vs. Denver @ Mac Court