EUGENE, Oregon — The No. 23 Oregon Ducks outlasted Boise State, 68-63, on Monday night from Matthew Knight Arena. Dylan Ennis led the way with a game-high 18 points. Half of his points scored came from the charity stripe (9 of 10).
Monday began a stretch of nine straight home games from MKA. Oregon basketball won’t be leaving Eugene until 2017. The Ducks need to take advantage.
Head coach Dana Altman made no changes to his starting unit from the Connecticut game. Payton Pritchard, Tyler Dorsey, Dylan Ennis, Chris Boucher and Jordan Bell drew the start. Dillon Brooks came off the bench once again.
Oregon has seen their AP ranking drop 19 spots in the last few weeks. Monday’s start against the Broncos was an example why. Boise State led by a game-high 14 points, 29-15, in the first half. The Ducks gave the small crowd very little to cheer about early.
“You hope your guys understand there are some ups and downs early in the season,” said Altman.
The Ducks battled back with a 7-0 run, cutting their deficit to five points, 29-24, before halftime. Boucher scored four points, grabbed three boards, and stole the ball during the momentum shift.
For the first 24 minutes of the game, Oregon shot 20 percent from deep. The early-season trend of terrible 3-point shooting continued until Dorsey drilled one midway through the second half.
Dylan Ennis’ relentless attack of the rim to draw fouls was instrumental. The graduate transfer from Villanova was the lone offense during a myriad of dry-spells Monday night. He made nine of 10 from the stripe, as he amassed a game-high 18 points. It was a season high for the Oregon guard.
Ennis drilled the triple that gave Oregon their first lead of the second half, 60-58. The 3-pointer concluded a 10-0 Duck run with 3:03 remaining in the game. The senior is quickly becoming an essential leader to the 2016-17 squad.
Boucher ended up scoring the final go-ahead point with a free throw, 61-60, with 2:52 left in the second half.
Dorsey’s gigantic layup with just over a minute gave the Ducks a lead of three points, 63-60. The sophomore guard scored 17 points on Monday. He is averaging 18.0 PPG over his last two contests.
Pritchard exhibited ice in his veins when he buried a jumper to place Oregon ahead, 65-60, with 22 seconds. The true freshman concluded with four points. He missed both of his 3-point attempts.
Oregon shot 44 percent from the field, sinking 22 of their 50 attempts against BSU. Their 3-point deficiency continued, finishing 30 percent from deep.
The Ducks out-rebounded the Broncos 39-32.
Casey Benson came off the bench to provide six huge points. He sank two of his three attempts from deep. Both came in the second half amidst Oregon runs.
Oregon, namely the dynamic duo of Bell and Boucher, overwhelmed Boise State with 10 blocked shots. The SI cover boy registered five of his own, alongside eight rebounds, six points, and two steals. Meanwhile, Bell recorded eight points, seven boards, three assists, and a steal.
“We will be moving guys around into the end of January. Dillon coming back, there’s a lot of ebb and flow,” Altman said.
Brooks’ struggles continued, as he finished with five points. The Oregon superstar had a great deal of his shots go in and out, however. The Canadian missed all but one of his nine shots from the floor.
Next up for the No. 23 Ducks (5-2) is Western Oregon on Wednesday night from MKA. Tip is set for 7:00 p.m. PCT against the Wolves. It will be the second of nine consecutive home games for the Ducks.
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