The Ducks came in against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks looking to build on their victory against Vanderbilt. Oregon was anchored underneath by Senior Center Tony Woods who continued to play well in the paint going for a career high 17 points and tying another career high with 5 blocked shots. "I thought Tony [Woods] did some really good things, especially protecting the basket." Coach Altman said after the game about his senior center. Also in double figures for Oregon was EJ Singler who scored all 11 of his points in the first half. The Ducks lead from the opening tip off and used their size advantage to batter the Gamecocks with 15 offensive rebounds and points off turnovers en route to their 67-45 victory over JSU.
The Ducks would find the iron unkind in the first half early on, but the size advantage with Woods and Arsalan Kazemi would prove to lead the way and keep the Oregon offense moving. The Ducks did not shoot particularly well from deep converting only 4 of 15 from behind the arc but against an over matched JSU, the long ball wasn’t really needed. The Ducks shot only 47% from the field but a lot of that was allayed by the 18 second chance points the Ducks tallied.
The story of the game was really Oregon’s defense. When Woods wasn't blocking shots underneath he was confounding the JSU big men making a couple shots that up until this point haven’t been a big part of his reportire. Assisting Woods on the block was Arsalan Kazemi; who lead the team in rebounds for the second consecutive game. After clearing his waiver, Kazemi has worked into the rotation and has Dana Altman thinking he will have a good 1-2 punch with he and Woods down low this season.
Despite their performance Woods feels that the team still has a long way to go defensively. "We've got a lot of work to do still. Communication is big…playing hard every play, it’s something we've got to get better at."
The most glaring concern for the Ducks comes in the form of turnovers. Oregon coughed up the ball 18 times during the game which Jacksonville State would turn into 12 points of their own. Considering the upcoming tests for the Ducks against some higher quality opponents Coach Altman stated, "We did not do a good job of handling the ball so that’s a big concern."
Also a concern for the Ducks was an injury to Carlos Emory late in the game. The Ducks were running a set out of bounds play where he slipped on the floor and went down. Coach Altman was unsure about the severity of the injury after the game and stated that he would be a game time decision for Friday against UNLV. Oregon was without the services of Waverly Austin who missed the game with a wrist injury but X-rays were negative. It’s possible he may be available for the next game.
Oregon must now go face the Rebels of UNLV who will look to force the tempo against a young team. It will be a good test to see how the Ducks may stack up against a tournament caliber opponent. Just for comparison’s sake. The Rebels also face JSU and they defeated the Gamecocks 77-58.
POST GAME INTERVIEW
Dana Altman Post Game Press Conference 11/19 (via Jake Tabor)