Oregon Basketball Starts Slow, Finishes Fast, and Cruises to Win over Washington State

William Mancebo

Duck basketball successfully ended their losing skid by topping Washington State in Pullman. Oregon relied on hot shooting in the second half and solid rebounding throughout to get themselves back in the right direction.

The two teams came out with Washington State wearing grey with crimson and the Ducks wearing yellow with black. At times in the first five to ten minutes it was plain to see why there were so few people in attendance. Both teams started out ice cold shooting and struggling to get quality shots. Oregon eventually got their legs under them to pull away in the beginning of the second half, winning 71-44 and stopping a 5-game losing streak. Calliste was the Ducks' playmaker throughout and a consistent force on the offensive end. He led the team in scoring with 20 points.

1st Half

The bright spot early was Oregon outrebounded Washington State handily. Despite shooting in the 33-38% range most of the first half Oregon was able to stay a couple possessions ahead throughout and eventually putting a small run together before halftime.

Oregon's weakness has been in the frontcourt that was apparent early. Washington State swatted two early shot attempts by Oregon's guards at the basket. It appeared that Oregon was working around their forwards rather than trying to get them involved and give them a role on offense where they could be successful.

Jason Calliste had a few standout plays in the first half, one of which ended a short scoring drought by hitting a floater off the backboard. Damyean Dotson also hit a beauty of a rainbow shot 3-pointer to extend the lead to 16-12 when Washington State made a push back to take control of the lead with under 10 minutes in the first half. Joe Young would hit another three from the corner to give Oregon's largest lead of the game, 7, with over 5 minutes left.

Altman's Ducks tried to take advantage of transition opportunities by really pushing the tempo off of rebounds. The result was a fair amount of sloppy plays. Guards lost the ball in traffic and players forced the action in the paint, which often ended in no points.

Halftime

Just before halftime Oregon had extended their lead to 13, 30-17, behind the shooting of "Sleeves" (my nickname) Calliste. Calliste shot 6/6 from the floor including two 3-pointers to end the first half with 14 points.

The biggest differentiator between the two teams was rebounds. Oregon held the advantage 23 to 9 and shot 46.2% from the field while Washington State slumped to 21.1%.

2nd Half

Washington State started the second half going almost a full five minutes before scoring a basket from the field. Their field goal percentage dropped to 18% early. Oregon was able to go on an 18-3 run and lead by 20. The Ducks rode out that lead the rest of the game and the Cougars never put together a strong run to get back in the game.

On the opposite end of the spectrum Calliste didn't miss his first shot of the game until a 3-pointer in transition rimmed out with 13 minutes left. Calliste was a constant source of good basketball throughout the game by making plays, drawing attention, and creating opportunities for his teammates.

Oregon's shooting really heated up in the latter part of the second half and stayed strong rebounding with forward Ben Carter really separating himself from his teammates with 9 rebounds.

A positive I've found from watching this game was that Oregon was committed to the tempo. Washington State looked stagnant on offense in the second half, settled for shots, and gave up opportunities in transition to defense. This is most likely a result of being worn down over time by Oregon's up-and-down action.

The 2-3-zone defense Oregon ran was also very effective. Even though Washington State was playing without their best player it was nice to see the Ducks play solid defense and forcing Washington State to really work when on offense.

In summary, Oregon had a really slow start. They looked sloppy and out of control. The team we saw in the last 5 to 8 minutes of the first half and the entire second half was the team that we fell in love with at the beginning of the year. They took a step in the right direction and got some confidence back against a team that they should have beaten.

The Ducks finished the game shooting 45.6% from the field and 40.9% from beyond the 3-point arc. The Ducks also almost doubled the Cougars on the boards, out-rebounding them 43-24.

Other Notes

  • It could've just been me but Oregon's uniforms had a real ability to blend in with the court. It's like there were just floating heads sometimes.
  • Arik Armstead made an appearance with a basket with less than 4 minutes to go. The whole bench went nuts when his shot attempt went in.

Oregon's next game is against USC in Eugene on Saturday.

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