EUEGENE, Oregon - Chris Boucher led the No. 4 Oregon Ducks past Valparaiso, 76-54, on Thursday night from Matthew Knight Arena. After leading by just seven points at halftime, Oregon took advantage in the second half by outscoring Valpo, 39-24.
Following Tuesday’s loss to Baylor on the road, the Ducks needed some momentum heading into Maui on Monday. Some home-cooking from Boucher and company was just what the doctor ordered.
“After Baylor, we made defense an emphasis,” stated Boucher.
The Oregon big man reeled off his biggest game of the young season. Boucher finished with 25 points, nine rebounds, three blocks, an assist, and a steal. He entered the locker room at halftime with a game-high 18 points.
“It was pretty important,” Boucher said. “We wanted to see our character.”
After a slow start against Valpo, the Ducks looked to their low post duo for production. Jordan Bell recorded 15 points, seven boards, three blocks, and an assist. He was clearly a match-up nightmare for the undersized Crusaders.
Aside from the combined 40 points from Boucher and Bell, Oregon spread the wealth on Thursday evening. 10 players earned time on the floor for Dana Altman’s bunch.
After shooting 14 percent from 3-point territory against Baylor, Oregon more than doubled that with 33 percent shooting from deep on Thursday. The Ducks 48 percent from the field overwhelmed a methodical attack from Valpo head coach Matt Lottich.
Valpo was out-rebounded by Oregon 40-27. The Ducks also dished out 16 assists to the Crusaders’ mere five. The turnover margin was negligible between the two, 12-11, in favor of Valpo.
Tyler Dorsey scored eight points after finishes of nine and 21 in his previous two contests, respectively.
Oregon’s deep bench continued to garner valuable playing time. They accounted for 18 of the Ducks’ 76 points. Freshman Payton Pritchard scored nine points to lead the bench. He added five dimes and two rebounds.
Kavell Bigby-Williams is vital to the depth behind Bell and Boucher. The junior college transfer scored five points, alongside securing five boards.
The Ducks (2-1) will head to Hawaii on Friday for their spot in a loaded Maui Invitational. Oregon will play Georgetown (1-2) to open the tournament on Monday afternoon. Tip is set for 2:00 p.m. PCT. Duck star Dillon Brooks is expected back.
“They are a hard team,” Boucher said. “They are physical, and have a lot of skill-sets. We’re going back to watch film on Georgetown right now.”
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