If you haven't already seen the score, the Ducks blew out Sacramento State yesterday 93-66, minus Hairston and Longmire. On paper, it's the blowout that everyone expected. However, as I was listening to some of the first half on the car radio, I almost couldn't believe my ears. The Hornets we keeping up with the Ducks early, and the Ducks just sounded flat and, frankly, bored. Joevan Catron echoed those sentiments in the O:
I know that its hard to get up for a game that you know you are supposed to win, but GREAT teams don't let these teams hang around the whole first half. Tonight, the talent won out. But if you let enough of these teams hang around, one of them is going to knock you off. While I only listened to about the first eight minutes, from what I've read, it sound a lot like the Portland game, where there was just an uninspired first half. Have one of these games in the conference season, even against a not very good team, and you've got a real dogfight on your hands.
Fortunately, about halfway through the first half, the Ducks did decide to start playing some basketball, and it was Maarty Leunen that was the catalyst. Maarty played an `A+' game, taking advantage of Sac State's lack of interior presence with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Ernie Kent praised Maarty for taking the game into his own hands, and Leunen commented on the game:
The Ducks would run away with the game in the second half, with Joevan Catron scoring a career high 20, and Tajuan adding 17. But if there was one difference in this tale of two halves, it was rebounding: tied at 17 at the half, the Ducks outrebounded the Hornets by 14 in the second frame. Its no coincidence that the Ducks put the game away with that stat.
Bottom line with this game: the Ducks need to come out with more energy than they did last night. A very good Nebraska team is coming up Saturday. If they come out flat, it will be St. Mary's all over again. Hopefully, Malik and LeKendric can get healthy, the team can focus, and we can get another road W. But go out there and struggle, and the Huskers won't be nearly as forgiving.