Despite coming out on top against an over-matched opponent, word from the Oregon locker room is they need to improve big time. Jason Calliste provided some insight from what he saw in the Ducks win against Utah Valley University.
"We didn't really play that well," said Calliste. "We're not going to outscore every team we play. We have to get better, man. Guys just got to dig and want to play defense."
Joseph Young led all scorers once again with 20 points and Johnathan Loyd contributed 12 for the Ducks who seemed to settle for outside shots more than they needed to. Mitch Bruneel and Hayes Garrity each had 15 for the Wolverines who have faced 3 of last year's tournament teams in a row now.
Basketball is inherently a game of runs. It was apparent in the first half as Oregon jumped out to a big lead early on behind 9 and 8 from Joseph Young and Jonathan Loyd. Young provided a spark early, stealing the ball between the rings on consecutive possessions and getting fast break scores. The fast break baskets were part of a 17-0 run which allowed the Ducks to take a 16 point lead.
However, sloppy play and poor communication allowed Utah Valley to chip away at the Oregon lead and close to within 4 at the half at 29-25. Hayes Garrity led the way back for the Wolverines as they closed the half on a 12-2 run.
"We gave them easy baskets. I think they scored nine straight right there and really turned things around. Once their heads were up, they were a handful," said Dana Altman
Similarly, the Ducks would score 16 straight in the second half, but this time, they wouldn't let the Wolverines get close as they stretched the lead to 23 and allowed the likes of Theo Friedman and A.J. Lapray to finish off the 69-54 victory.
Amid that run, Johnathan Loyd and Richard Amardi provided one of the biggest highlight of the game as they connected on a lob and Amardi put the hammer down on an alley oop.
Despite the win and scoring 27 points off 14 turnovers, coach Altman is still unhappy with his team's consistency.
"There were some bright spots but we're not taking care of the fundamentals of what we want to do. Our ball movement was not nearly good enough," said Altman.
One point of concern is Damyean Dotson's output. Dotson was held scoreless in the first half on 5 shots before he broke through in the second and found his way to the basket to finish the game with 8. The Ducks are going to need output from Dotson when Young or Moser aren't running things. Teams in the Pac-12 are likely to key on Young to keep him subdued and those are the times when Dotson needs to find his form from late last season.