A disappointing end to the Phil Knight Invitational has the Oregon Ducks (5-2) searching for answers. Boise State (6-1) makes a visit to Eugene where the Ducks hope to continue their winning streak at home.
Energy, motivation, and drive are just a few concerns Coach Dana Altman has on his mind with his team. A 71-63 loss to Connecticut to open the Phil Knight Invitational did not sit well for Coach Altman. The Ducks should have come away with a win, but the Huskies pulled away late to come out on top.
Against DePaul, the offense played without hesitation as Oregon attempted a school-record of 39 three-point shots. Only 15 went down with Payton Pritchard leading the way with seven. His career-high 29 points helped the Ducks fend off the Blue Demons with an 89-79 overtime victory.
Oklahoma will be a game everyone from Oregon will want to forget. In a rematch from the 2016 Elite Eight contest, the Sooners prevailed once again. Instead of Buddy Hield tormenting the Ducks as he did in the tournament, a freshman became a one-person show.
Trae Young dropped 43 points, sending déjà vu all over again for Oregon after Hield went off to propel Oklahoma into the Final Four. Young had 30 points in the first half.
The Ducks got off to a flying start until the Sooners went on a run. Oregon had no answers as Young knocked down buckets. Offensively, the Ducks lacked consistency and finish with opportunities.
Oregon expected a better outcome, especially with Phil Knight sponsoring the invitational to celebrate his 80th birthday. Instead, Coach Altman is still piecing together a team who can play all phases of a game.
Five players currently average double-digit figures in scoring for the Ducks with Pritchard leading the way with 14.7 per game. Troy Brown’s status is unclear as the freshman left the game against Oklahoma late with an apparent injury.
Defense remains the critical issue for Coach Altman as his current roster can quickly put up points. With conference play around the corner, the defense is a work in progress for the Ducks and will need to clean up the mistakes.
Boise State is on a current two-game win streak but has not faced competition similar to what Oregon faced in the past week. The only notable game was a 75-64 loss to Iowa State, a team who certainly makes noise in the Big 12 during conference play.
Four players are averaging double figures in scoring for the Broncos with Justinian Jessup leading the team with 14.7 per game. Chandler Hutchison is their top rebounder currently with 7.5 rebounds per game.
Last season in Eugene, Boise State got the jump on Oregon early with a three-point barrage. The Broncos made 11 three-pointers as the Ducks trailed throughout most of the game.
But the Broncos could not sustain their offensive attack as the Ducks were never out of the game. Oregon took their first lead with under four minutes to play in the game. The Ducks managed to squeak out a 68-63 victory.
Friday night’s tilt is set to begin at 6:30 pm with a telecast on Pac-12 Networks.
Despite an underwhelming performance in the PK80, plenty excitement is to come for Oregon Basketball. The signing of five-star center Bol Bol last week gave Oregon the top signing class for 2018. A trip to the Final Four last season has paid dividends for Coach Altman and for the Ducks to be contenders in the coming seasons.
For now, the Ducks look to continue their current unbeaten streak at home.