PORTLAND, Oregon — The Ducks fell to Oklahoma 90-80 in the fifth place consolation game from the PK80 Invitational on Sunday morning. The Sooners were led by their true freshman Trae Young who scored a tournament-high 43 points from Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The numbers are very misleading for this game. Oregon hung with or was better than OU in every area except free throws. The Ducks sent OU to the line 44 times, while they attempted just 14 overall from the charity stripe. That was the difference.
“We had a lot of bad fouls,” said head coach Dana Altman after the loss. “We had a lot of bad possessions. Our ball movement on the offensive end was very poor. You put anyone on the free throw line 44 times. We got beat in every phase of the game.”
Not to mention, Dana Altman’s former mentor Lon Kruger wasn’t hurt by the play of his true freshman Young. The kid was sizzling to start the game, but was even better at the end. He scored an incredible 30 points in the final 20 minutes to finish off Oregon.
He entered play averaging a Big-12 best 24.5 PPG (non-conference only). Young concluded with 43 and was 11-of-22 (50 percent) from the floor, including 4-of-11 from downtown.
“We scrimmaged them in the preseason,” said Young after the win. “They were doing a bunch of different things. Based on that, they do a lot of switching. I was able to take advantage of the big guy on me. My teammates did a great job of knocking down shots.”
His real damage was done from the free throw line where he buried 17-of-18. He added seven dimes and four rebounds in the victorious effort.
“Trae Young goes 17-of-18 at the line,” stated Altman. “Just a really poor (defensive) performance.”
Paul White was the leading scorer for the Ducks. He surpassed his career-high, which he set earlier in the season, with a team-high 17 points. He shot 50 percent from the field, including 3-of-5 from deep. He added five boards and four helpers.
For the three-game PK80, White averaged 13 PPG vs UConn, DePaul and Oklahoma. Sunday, he tallied a career-high (6-of-12) after amassing his previous career-best vs Prairie View (16) earlier this year
Troy Brown started the game on fire, scoring eight of Oregon’s first 10 points. However he did not score again until 43.6 seconds left in the first half. The true freshman finished with 13 points (4-of-12) before heading to the locker room prematurely after banging heads with MiKyle McIntosh.
“I saw him in there (locker room), he was talking to the doctors. I think he’ll be okay,” said Altman. “I guess he and MiKyle hit heads. They ran into each other.”
Student (602) vs Teacher (604) pic.twitter.com/F5t1O5LYL6— Quack Addict (@TheQuackFiend) November 26, 2017
Payton Pritchard hit his first two buckets on Sunday, en route to 10 total points. He slowed as the game went on, hitting just 5-of-15, including 0-for-5 from 3-point territory. Pritchard had five assists and five dimes.
“We’re not getting any leadership on the offensive end,” Altman stated. “Way too much dribbling. The ball’s got to move. Our guards are just pounding it. That’s going to change. I can control that. That will change. Defensively, we’re not ready to play.”
Oregon didn’t shoot bad from the field compared to their opponent (42 percent), but 30 percent from downtown didn’t help. UO even dominated in the paint, according to the stats, 44-33. Yet, we know the numbers don’t always tell the truest story.
“If our ball movement doesn’t get better, we’re not going to play,” replied the Ducks’ head coach. “39 free throws against DePaul and 44 tonight, you can’t do that. Points off turnovers they beat us. Second-chance points they beat us.”
The Ducks ended the first half shooting 1-of-11 (nine percent) from the floor, including missing their last seven in a row.
Elijah Brown led the way with a team-high 10 points (3-of-9), including four rebounds and an assist at the break. He buried a huge 4-point play in the first half to cut UO’s deficit to six points.
Elijah, Troy, White and Victor Bailey Jr. combined to score 32 of Oregon’s 40 points in the first 20 minutes.
Heralded true freshman Trae Young lived up to expectations and then some. He entered the locker room reminding people of former Sooner great Buddy Hield. He had a game-high 13 points (4-of-9), five dimes and two boards in 19 of 20 minutes played in the first half.
“Both impact the game in terms of the opponents have to game plan specifically for Buddy or specifically for Trae,” said Lon Kruger after win No. 605 of his career. “They both have a huge impact on the game. The ball is in Trae’s hands more so it allows him more reps.”
Young was a member of the McDonald’s All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic alongside Troy Brown. There were not many secrets between those two entering Sunday’s affair, as Oklahoma was ahead 48-40 at halftime.
The Ducks weren’t losing the rebounding margin (22-20) and OU only had two more points in the paint than Oregon at the half, yet UO’s interior presence was lacking against a strong front court.
“They haven't been through any adversity,” Altman said. “It’s going to take some time for the young guys. We have five or six freshmen out there. They all want to score, not really excited about guarding anybody. We’re giving up way too many easy baskets. We got a tremendous amount of work to do. We have to get tougher on defense.”
After halftime, OU went six-plus minutes without scoring from the field. It allowed Oregon to creep back into the contest. The Ducks hit six of eight shots during their 13-3 run.
With McIntosh’s tough bucket, UO reclaimed the lead 62-61 with 10 minutes remaining in the game. The Illinois State transfer ended his day with 11 points and seven rebounds.
It wouldn’t last long with the Sooners making an 11-3 run of their own. They drilled 5-of-6 attempts during a stretch that Oregon went on a 1-for-7 drought, including missing four straight. OU was leading by 10 after the spurt, 79-69, and never looked back.
“We have a lot of volunteers to shoot it,” Altman explained. “But, we don’t have any volunteers to do the tough things right now.”
Elijah had 14 points before fouling out. He was 5-of-15 from the floor. But, his inefficiencies continued from 3-point land (2-for-7) on Sunday. Brown recorded five rebounds and a helper.
Kenny Wooten played in 21 minutes of action. The big man swatted a few shots away, but also had some careless fouls. He scored four points, while bringing down three boards.
“We take the lead, then really bad fouls,” Oregon’s head coach said with disgust. “Kenny fouls 90 feet from the basket for his fourth foul. Next two possessions, just really bad.”
Bailey was solid with nine points off the bench in an efficient day (4-of-6) on the floor. However, he too fouled out in just 15 minutes of action.
Aside from Young, just two Oklahoma players scored in double figures. Christian James registered 11 points and seven rebounds.
His teammate Jamuni McNeace tallied 10 of his own and was perfect from the floor.
The Ducks hit 71 percent from the line, but were outshot by 30 free throws in total. That is a recipe for disaster and should be rectified by Altman and his coaching staff.
This is a young team who is still learning to play with one another. It will take some time, but there is plenty of talent on this roster.
Next up, Oregon (5-2) will head back home to play Boise State (5-1) on Friday night from Matthew Knight Arena. The Ducks will be looking to extend their nation-best home win-streak to 47 games. Tip is slated for 6:30 p.m. PT and will be televised live on the Pac-12 Network.