Here's all you need to know: Oregon absolutely destroyed a very outmatched team. Only one significant contributor was returning for Pepperdine, and it showed as they were blasted from the opening tip.
We had some trouble getting started offensively at first, and a lot of it was because ball movement and spacing were bad. The score was 5-2 about four minutes in. Ernie then put Kamyron Brown in, and it was all over. That's no indictment on Tajuan's ability to distribute (he had nine assists), but the spacing just looked so much better, and the middle much less clogged up. That left Oregon to do what they do best, which is penetrate. If they don't commit to you, finish. And that is basically what blew Pepperdine out of the water. And while the Waves tried a full court press the whole game, Tajuan and Kamyron dominated their press with compelete ease, rendering it totally ineffective.
Defensively, Oregon smothered Pepperdine with tremendous defensive effort, and grabbed seemingly every rebound. The Ducks outrebounded the Waves by 19, and nine Oregon players had at least four rebounds, led by Maarty with 14. The hustle plays were all there, and the Ducks were getting every loose ball. Of the four Pepperdine players who took the most shots, three of their lines were 1-10, 1-9, and 3-16. There was a hand in every face.
It was about as good a first half as you could ask for, the only exception being that Tajuan couldn't buy a bucket. Everyone else, though, was lights out.
You'll see that the Ducks led by 30 at the half. That lead swelled up to 45, before going back to the final margin of 30. The second half was a sloppy turnover-fest, and only Tajuan could be said to be shooting the ball well in the second half. Chalk it up to losing focus with a big lead at the half against an overmatched opponent--but I don't like to see it. Good teams will come back in games like that.
- I was really impressed with Kamyron Brown. He came in like he had been playing with these guys forever. He came in four minutes into the game, immediately scored five points, and found teammates for wide open buckets. All in all, seven points and six assists in 27 minutes of play. He'll be playing a lot of minutes this year.
- Maarty Leunen might be the best rebounder in the country. He had 14 in only 26 minutes, 11 of those in the first half. Wave posts were totally overmatched by him.
- Tajuan had a rough first half shooting, but found ways to get his teammates involved. He got on a hot streak in the second half, and finished with 17 points. He also had nine assists, including a couple of beautiful alley oops. Throw in five rebounds, and it was a great all around game.
- Malik may be a wing player, but he is as dominating a wing player on the inside that I have ever seen. He grabs rebounds and blocks shots with such authority. I hope that he finally breaks out this year, becuase I'd love to see that talent with a real mean streak. He could potentially be unstoppable.
- Its the usual with Bryce. You don't really notice him out there, but you read the box score and it says he has 17 points and six rebounds.
- If you piss off Joevan Catron or Frantz Dorsainvil, you are a dead man. They are both leaner than last year, and it showed with athletic hustle plays by both around the basket.
- I can't quite put my finger on it, but there was something about LeKendric Longmire that I really liked. He seemed to have an attitude out there that reminded me a bit of Andre Joseph.
Anyway, nice win to start the season. Pacific up on Sunday.