After playing the Vanderbilt Commodores to a 17-14 mark midway through the first half, senior E.J. Singler keyed a 24-6 Oregon run as the Ducks hit a barrage of late threes to take a 41-20 halftime lead en route to a 71-48 victory in front of over 9,000 raucous fans at Matthew Knight Arena.
"It was a pretty good atmosphere for us, and I thought we played with tremendous energy," Head Coach Dana Altman said.
Singler led the Ducks with 22 points on 5-13 shooting to go along with a 9-11 mark from the free throw line. Freshman Damyean Dotson added 10 points and senior Tony Woods put in 10 of his own, including the first seven of the game for Oregon.
"It just kind of happened as the game developed," Woods said of his early touches. "We knew coming into the game that they would double (team), so it just kind of happened."
More than anything, it was Oregon's defense that sparked the Ducks against the Commodores, forcing Vanderbilt to commit 18 turnovers – 11 in the first half – and holding them to under 20 percent from beyond the arc.
"We knew they were going to shoot threes coming in," Singler said. "We knew their starting five could all shoot the three, so that was a big emphasis on us this week, containing the three and not letting them get good, open three looks."
"We knew how big of a game this was for us as a collective unit, a test to measure where we're at, and I think we came out and really showed a good team effort."
Friday's game also marked the first appearance this season for senior forward Arsalan Kazemi, who had his hardship waiver approved Thursday by the NCAA. The transfer from Rice scored 5 points and led the team with 7 rebounds.
With Kazemi missing most of Oregon's preseason practices with a groin injury, and Singler with knee tendinitis, Altman stressed the importance of having his senior leaders out there with the crop of newcomers.
"I think that really held our team back," Altman said of the two forwards' absence. "The freshmen need to practice with the guys who have been-there, done-that and can give them some leadership."
Oregon's next game is Monday against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks, before they hit the road to face the UNLV Runnin' Rebels on Friday night. Considering how the team played tonight, it's not out of the question that they come up aces in Las Vegas.