Chris Boucher and Jordan Bell have guided No. 5 Oregon to the No. 1 ranking for average blocks per game (7.3) and total blocked shots (176) this season.
The duo has helped hold opponents to a 39.1 field goal percentage. Oregon is currently No. 15 in the country, and the highest rated Pac-12 defense.
Chris Boucher is currently ranked No. 10 in the nation in blocked shots, averaging 2.8 BPG for the season. His partner in domination, Jordan Bell is ranked No. 33 in the land with 2.2 BPG.
And you can't forget the complimentary shot-blocker Kavell Bigby-Williams (1.0 BPG). KBW has 22 blocked shots in a reserve role since his transfer to Oregon. He provides a boost when either of the big boys find himself in foul trouble.
Dylan Ennis is fourth on the team with 12 blocked shots for the season.
“We've got the best shot blockers in the country with Jordan, Chris and Kavell,” Payton Pritchard said. “Us guards really have to pressure them and take away easy threes and easy little 15-footers. If we do that, the rest will take care of itself.”
The SI cover boy began the season in the starting five. Yet, he has since moved to the bench and currently occupies the sixth man role. Regardless, whenever he is on the floor, teams have to altar their interior game plan.
Boucher hasn’t been phased by the transition.
“You experience more of the game, but I felt like it didn't really change what I had to do,” said Boucher. “I still have to rebound, block shots and have a lot of energy."
For the season, the Montreal native is averaging 12.4 PPG, 6.8 RPG, alongside his 2.8 BPG. He is shooting 54 percent from the floor (106-of-197). His versatility is limitless, registering 34 percent from downtown (25-of-74), as well.
Even after his relegation to the bench, Boucher (24.6 MPG) is averaging just three minutes less per game than Bell (27.6 MPG).
Jordan Bell has been a monster once again this season. His 53 blocked shots are second to only the aforementioned Boucher. The Long Beach, California native is averaging 10.9 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 2.2 BPG, alongside impressively shooting 63 percent from the floor (106-of-167).
“He finishes and he's very athletic,” said Tyler Dorsey.
Bell and Boucher have helped lead Oregon to the No. 5 ranking in the AP Top 25. Not to mention, a 21-3 record, and 10-1 in the mighty Pac-12 Conference thus far.
Oregon’s 21-3 record is the second-best in program history. The only better mark for the Webfoots at this point in the season came 90 years ago when the 1926-27 squad was 23-1.
The Ducks’ 10-1 record in league play is the program’s best since the 1938-39 NCAA Championship squad went 11-1 in the Pacific Coast Conference, finishing 14-2.
In the lone conference loss for Oregon this season, both Boucher and Bell fouled out within a minute of one another. In the end, the Duck defense suffered for the final five minutes in the high altitude of Boulder, Colorado.
The importance of these two can not be measured by numbers and statistics alone. Their presence creates problems for every offense they oppose. Just ask Sean Miller how tough they made his Saturday afternoon in Eugene.
The road to the promise land is underway. The biggest test remaining on the regular season schedule occurs on Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion. No. 10 UCLA (21-3, 8-3 Pac-12) is eagerly awaiting a rematch with the Ducks.
Bell and Boucher will dictate the tempo of this game. Will the Ducks run-and-gun like they did against Arizona, and the Wildcats did to UCLA in California? Or will they try to slow down the game? Either way, the dynamic duo will have a say in the outcome.
Good teams win at home, as the Ducks have clearly illustrated with 40 straight wins. Yet, great teams are defined by their victories on the road. Oregon needs their signature road win after tough losses to No. 6 Baylor, Georgetown (Maui Invite) and Colorado.
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