It’s about time. No. 13 Oregon lived up to its preseason bill, putting together perhaps its most dominant performance of the young season — even if it was against a shorthanded, struggling Connecticut team.
Still, the Ducks (4-2) looked comfortable on offense, which made them more lively on defense, as they routed the Huskies (2-4) for a fifth-play finish at the Maui Invitational on Wednesday, 79-69
.@OregonMBB defeats @UConnMBB 79-69 for a 5th place finish #MauiHoops pic.twitter.com/YqSME3JFRP— Maui Invitational (@MauiInv) November 23, 2016
Chris Boucher was brilliant for the Ducks, pouring in a team-high 21 points with five triples, five boards and three blocks. Tyler Dorsey (19 points, 5 rebounds), Dylan Ennis (15 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists) and Jordan Bell (12 points, 8 boards) were also productive, as the Ducks shot 55 percent from the floor and 43 percent (9-of-21) from downtown.
Meanwhile, the Huskies shot 48 and 26 (6-of-23) percent, respectively, with three players reaching double figures: Jalen Adams dumped in 27 points, Rodney Purvis added 13 and Amida Brimah tallied 11, as the Huskies were without two of their regular starters.
Redshirt sophomore forward Terry Larrier (13.5ppg on 49 percent shooting, 5.0rpg, 1.8apg) is out for the rest of the season after tearing his ACL in UConn’s loss to Oklahoma State on Monday, while freshman shooting guard Alterique Gilbert (10.3ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.3spg) is expected to return by the end of the month after sustaining a shoulder injury.
The Ducks carried their momentum from Tuesday’s game, a 69-65 overtime win over Tennessee, into their meeting with the Huskies.
Ennis jumpstarted the Oregon offense, either scoring or assisting on the Ducks’ first 13 points of their opening 18-3 outburst. The Huskies were held without a field goal through the first 5 1/2 minutes, struggling to convert anything against the Ducks’ defensive pressure.
Oregon inflated its lead to 21-5 before UConn responded with a surge of its own, using a 17-11 run to get within 10, 32-22. The Ducks sustained a healthy advantage before carrying a 39-28 lead into the break.
Boucher was unstoppable in the second half, grabbing boards, blocking shots and drilling threes to stretch the Husky defense. The senior highlighted the period with back-to-back triples for Oregon before UConn ripped off six straight points, including two from a monster dunk by Adams, to pull within 53-40.
The sides exchanged buckets, but the Ducks kept their opponents at arm’s length.
Steal & slam by Oregon’s Jordan Bell https://t.co/tvmvX2j5pY— The Cauldron (ICYMI) (@CauldronICYMI) November 23, 2016
Bell seemingly iced the game with a steal and swinging finish to make it a 73-61 ballgame with 2:06 left, but the Huskies refused to go away, closing the gap to as little as 77-69, thanks to an 6-0 surge in the waning minutes.
Oregon finishes fifth in its second Maui Invitational, falling to Georgetown on Day One before topping Tennessee and UConn on Days Two and Three. Meanwhile, UConn claims sixth, beating Chaminade in between losses to Oklahoma State and Oregon.
The Ducks return to Eugene, where they’ll welcome Boise State to Matthew Knight Arena for a meeting on Monday, Nov. 28. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. PT.