The Ducks came away with victory number one tonight, and what a great win it was. After a disappointing loss to Mizzou Wednesday night in which the Ducks looked uncomfortable and a bit rusty, they turned things around in a big way over the Pirates, as they led for almost the entirety of the contest. Eugene Omoruyi continued his fantastic play, LJ Figueroa made his debut and the freshman Jalen Terry looked much more comfortable in his second collegiate game.
As mentioned above, Oregon led for almost the entire game, other than when Seton Hall opened the initial scoring. Oregon took the lead away and never gave it back, and were able to keep the Pirates at bay every time they threatened to close the gap. Eugene Omoruyi continued his hot play tonight, dropping in 22 points. He’s making and taking good shots, and takes what defenses are giving him. He has been very impressive so far, and with play like this, figures to be a key player as the season continues.
Starting off hot.— GoDucks (@GoDucks) December 5, 2020
After Wednesday's performance, Eugene Omoruyi became the third major conference player in the last 25 years to have 30+ points and 10+ rebounds in their debut. #GoDucks pic.twitter.com/CPVE8Y9mwo
Against Mizzou, Oregon looked slow and hesitant on the defense, and got pushed around down low. But we saw a totally different defense from the Ducks tonight. They were active, opportunistic, and harassed the Pirates all game long. Oregon had a very solid first half and went into the break up 34-28.
Oregon kept their collective foot on the gas in the second half, never slowing down, and continuing to execute on both sides of the ball. It’s always inspiring to watch players taking charges and diving for loose balls, they are two unselfish plays were the player is sacrificing their bodies for the benefit of their teams, and we saw plenty of that with Oregon. They were locked in and hungry, and that was the biggest difference in my eyes between this game and the game on Wednesday.
LJ Figueroa personified the Ducks style of play tonight. Most of his numbers don’t jump off the page at first glance, 6 points, 9 rebounds and 2 assists. But LJ accounted for four of Oregon’s 10 steals, and when you watch him play defense, you understand why. Figueroa was constantly in the Pirates’ faces the whole game, looking for every opportunity he could to poke the ball away or pick off a pass. He brought a tenacity to defense that Oregon was solely lacking against the Tigers, and it was fun to watch.
This was a big win for Oregon, and the second time in as many years where Oregon faced a tough Seton Hall team and came out on top. Sure, Oregon has some issues to still work on, they remained somewhat sloppy with the ball tonight, and finding who is going to be the primary playmaker is a question that could persist until Will Richardson returns, but all-in-all this was a great win for the Ducks and one they could hang their hats on. I know I predicted a Seton Hall win tonight, but I’ve never been so glad to be wrong.