EJ Singler looks to get back "into the groove" - Stephen Dunn
Ducks struggle early but eventually pull away from SWOSU with a strong defensive effort in the second half. After only leading by 6 in the first, the Ducks win 82-65.
The SWOSU Bulldogs came into Matthew Knight Arena Monday night and, at least for the first half, gave the Ducks all they could want from an exhibition opponent. The Ducks had 5 players in double figures as they eventually pulled away, winning against the Bulldogs 82-65. Sharpshooter Dominick Cornelius lead all scorers with 21 points for the Bulldogs, all of them coming from behind the arc on 7-11 shooting in a losing effort.. "This team is going to drive me nuts for a while," Coach Altman stated after the game "We’re making a lot of fundamental mistakes that we gotta clean up to beat good teams…we’re making a lot of defensive mistakes."
The majority of those mistakes came in the first half as Oregon seemed to get confused on their defensive assignments and playing sloppy on both sides of the ball. While trying to apply full court pressure, the Ducks gave up several easy baskets because of "communication and bad rotation, a lot of fundamental mistakes on the defensive end," according to Coach Altman. Those problems saw Oregon trail SWOSU for a six minute span in the first half in which the Ducks just couldn’t break away from their opponents. The Ducks though would use an 11-5 run out of a time out to put themselves into the lead for good.
The Ducks shot 54% from the field and that number would benefit from the Ducks increased defensive pressure in the second half as they forced 12 second half turnovers that resulted in 22 of their 30 points off of SWOSU’s turnovers. In the second half, the Duck’s lead grew to as much as 18 as they put the Bulldogs away in the second half with 4 steals from Dominic Artis and 3 other Ducks contributing 3 steals. Waverly Austin was one of those defenders who also chipped in 5 blocks and 11 boards.
The Ducks would also get 40 points in the paint; many of them coming from rim rocking dunks from Tony Woods which helped set the tone on offense for the home squad. When pressed about his role in the offense, Woods commented; "It’s a new day and my offense has [come] a long way so [I’m] feeling good about this year and helping E.J. [Singler] offensively and Carlos [Emory] pick it up as well."
E.J. Singler; who played limited minutes due to tendonitis, was perfect from the field totaling 12 points and 4 assists. Despite a solid offensive performance, Singler still feels that "defensively I didn’t do that well of a job…I’ll get back in the groove and our team will get back in the groove but it’s just gonna take a little bit of time." Singler is back to full speed in practice and doesn’t feel as though there will be any minute restrictions on him moving forward which should help with the overall team chemistry.
Early returns from the team are that they are talented but as young as they are they may have some trouble harnessing that talent. At times it seemed the college game moved a little fast for Freshmen Willie Moore and Ben Carter. Moore opened the game with an air ball and he and Carter seemed to try to force the issue on offense. Once this team gets a chance to really start playing together their raw talent could turn into a very dangerous squad if the conference overlooks them. Up next for the Ducks is the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks on Saturday as part of the Global Sports Classic to open the official basketball season.