While most of us were busy trying to will the Oregon Ducks football team to a victory in the desert against the Arizona Wildcats, the men's basketball team spent the evening doing battle with the Portland Pilots at the Chiles Center.
Incoming Rant: Who was in charge of scheduling this game? With the football team looking to grab a shot at the Rose Bowl, why was the men's game not moved to a later time? Those watching the football contest had no shot of getting to the game in Portland. There was plenty of time to get the game moved, even by an hour or two.
I'm not thrilled by any loss but I can accept this one, if for no other reason than because of the talent level of Portland. This isn't a bottom feeder team where we just didn't perform. The Pilots are a team looking to challenge Gonzaga for the West Coast Conference title and make their way into the NCAA Tournament.
Oregon went into halftime with an 8 point lead but the Pilots went on a 15-1 run to start the second half. Last year, that would have been all she wrote for the team but the Ducks battled back, mostly on the hustle and shooting of Malcolm Armstead, who hit two 3 point baskets and a layup off a stolen inbounds play. Oregon was up 72-70 with about 5 minutes to go when Portland went on an 11-2 run to seal the game.
Malcolm Armstead had a great game, scoring 21 points on 9 of 15 shooting including 3 of 4 from beyond the arc and no turnovers. His 8 point burst in the second half kept the Ducks from being blown out and gave the Ducks a chance to win in the closing minutes of the game before Portland pulled away. Not bad for a guy off the bench.
Tajuan Porter went missing in the second half after scoring 13 points in the first half. TP is still hot and cold. If he's going to step up and be that go to guy beyond the arc, the time is now. We need his points and his ability.
Michael Dunigan didn't play in the game due to his hip injury
Jamil Wilson had 3 points and 3 rebounds after starting the game but played limited minutes while spliting time with Jeremy Jacob and EJ Singler.
We had a Drew Wiley sighting who had enough time to play exactly 1 minute of action and drain a 3.
Josh Crittle didn't register any time in the game. For a guy that was one of the brighter spots for the team last year, I can't believe how little playing time he's getting. Is he in the doghouse? Out of shape? Or is it just that the other guys on the team are playing better.
I'm about as ok with this loss as I'm going to be. We were in the game, had a good lead and even came back after facing a tough stretch. The team is starting to learn to play together and have that scrappy attitude needed to do well. Playing competitive ball against Portland is a good indication of where this team is. We need to do a much better job defending the 3 point line and Dunigan has become a key component of our defense down low. If he is out for an extended period of time, we'll need someone to step up to fill that role.
Next game: Monday, November 23rd against the Montana Grizzlies from Mac Court in Eugene