The box score will tell you that Eastern Washington shot only 33% for the game, and Oregon shot 45%, and you'd probably figure that Oregon ran the Eagles off the floor.
Instead, they trailed most of the game.
That'll happen when the lower percentage team takes 22 more shots than the higher percentage one. The problems that plagued Oregon in the Vanderbilt loss reared their ugly head again as the Ducks had 21 turnovers and gave up 14 offensive rebounds. We knew Oregon needed to work on these things after the Vanderbilt game but, if anything, the Ducks were worse for large stretches of this one.
The first half was about as ugly as basketball gets. EWU made seven three-pointers. The Ducks responded with twelve turnovers in the half, trailing a hot shooting Eagles team by as much as eight. Oregon never got into any kind of a rhythm, and only an excellent first halves by Tyrone Nared and Bruce Barron kept the Ducks within shouting distance. Oregon's man-to-man defense was actually pretty good, but Eastern Washington made some difficult guarded three pointers and, more frustratingly, got several scores in transition off turnovers, as well as easy layups on their eight offensive rebounds of the half.
The second half looked like more of the same early as Oregon turned the ball over on their first two possessions, and EWU scored on both, running the lead to nine. However, that was as good as it got for the Eagles. Oregon started taking care of the ball a bit better and the full court press began wearing down the Eagles, especially after their two best players, Collin Chiverton and Cliff Ederaine, both fouled out with over nine minutes to go. The key sequence came with six minutes to go and Oregon up two, and it exemplified the best of the full court press: Jonathan Loyd gets a layup in transition, then steals the inbound and dishes to Garrett Sim for another layup. The Ducks then force a five second call and Sim hits a three on the ensuing possession. Oregon up nine, game over, especially as EWU went eight minutes without a field goal. Harder than it should be against a Big Sky team, but a win is a win.
- Unlike in the Vanderbilt game, Oregon started the game in man-to-man defensively, and rotated in and out of the press. EWU's offense came on turnovers, offensive rebounds, and (mostly) contested three-pointers. Oregon's half-court defense was generally outstanding, and the full-court press wore EWU down and ultimately won them the game with the aforementioned second-half sequence. That said, there was no excuse for EWU to get so many offensive rebounds against a man defense, and the Ducks did a terrible job of both boxing out, and of corraling the rebound once they get their hands on it. At least with the turnovers, there is the excuse of a lot of players who haven't played a lot with each other. But the rebounding issues have to do with effort and toughness, both of which appear to be very poor right now.
- The Ducks have more length on the interior than I've seen in a long time. The Ducks blocked five shots, but affected many more. Its going to allow the guards to be very aggressive defensively knowing that Woods, Nared, Jacob, and Ashaolu are they to clean up for them.
- This team is really discombobulated on offense right now, and its clear that guys don't know their roles or each other. While I have no doubts that this will be fixed by the time conference play starts, the question is how much damage we'll see in the process, especially with tough games coming up against Nebraska, BYU, Virginia, and UTEP.
- This was Tyrone Nared's best game as an Oregon Duck. He single-handedly kept Oregon close in the first half, scoring eight points in a stretch where it seemed like EWU hit a three on every possession and every other Duck could do no right. He kept it going in the second half to finish with an impressive line: 15 points (4-4 from the field, 2-2 from 3, 5-5 from the free throw line). He was also Oregon's most consistent inside player on both ends of the floor, finishing with seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks, while being one of only two Oregon players not to turn the ball over. He was the one player that consistently did the right things on offense.
- Garrett Sim also had a very strong game, with 17 points, 4 assists, and 4 boards. I never thought Sim would develop into a very good player, but he is improving by leaps and bounds on both ends of the floor. You can tell he is extremely confident offensively, and his shot looks great. He has been very solid in the full court press as well. With Jabari Brown's struggles, I would not be suprised to see Sim and Loyd be the starting backcourt against SE Missouri State on Sunday.
- Jabari Brown looks really lost. He's a black hole offensively, clearly trying to do to much and trying to make plays that aren't there to be had. He has a score first mentality, but he has to learn that he can't just bully his way through people at this level. Five turnovers, 1-4 from the field, and 3-9 from the line. He has to learn how to adjust his game and play within the team.
- I'm confused early by Olu Ashaolu as well. He's proven to be a great rebounder and double-double guy, but tonight, in 17 minutes, had six points, four boards, six turnovers, and four fouls. He doesn't seem to be attacking the glass with much intensity and is struggling offensively. He is another guy who is going to have to adjust and learn his role.
- EJ Singler had the kind of game that EJ Singler is great at pulling off. You'd never notice he played 31 minutes, and clearly had trouble finding a rhythm offensively, but finished with four steals and two blocks, and held Collin Chiverton to eight points.
- For Tony Woods, two field goal attempts and three boards isn't going to cut it. He's the biggest and most athletic dude on the floor, and needs to make his presence known. Like Olu, he wasn't attacking the glass with much intensity and was having trouble sealing his guy on the box out. He was also having trouble holding onto the ball, and got stipped thrice for turnovers.
- Bruce Barron played eight minutes, didn't score, and finished with two rebounds and two assists. But the defensive intensity and the hustle plays had me really impressed with what he brought to the table.
- Nice to see Jeremy Jacob back healthy. Seven boards in 11 minutes was great to see, but he looked a bit awkward offensively, and missed all three of his shots.
- Jonathan Loyd hit a nice pull-up jumper, which was something we never saw last season. He was aggressive defensively with three steals, but the EWU players just shot three pointers right over him.
- Wasn't as impressed with Carlos Emory as I was against Vanderbilt. He didn't have much of a stat line and often looked lost on the floor.
- Man, Brett Kingma has a quick release. However, he's going to have to play better defense to see more than seven minutes a game.
A win is a win, and its still clear that this team has a lot of coming together to do. Lets hope for a cleaner performance Sunday against SE Missouri State.