The Oregon Ducks (2-1) used their tenacious defense to overwhelm the Eastern Washington Eagles (0-3), ultimately winning the contest 69 to 52 to extend their winning streak at Matt Knight Arena to 23 games.
The Ducks were originally scheduled to open their season against Eastern Washington on November 25, but the game had to be rescheduled due to the Eagles not having enough scholarship players available due to COVID protocol.
Instead, Eastern Washington began its stretch of PAC-12 play three days later with three-point losses to Washington State and Arizona, 68-71 and 67-70, respectively. Oregon, on the other hand, battled against a pair of non-conference opponents in Omaha, Nebraska—Missouri and Seton Hall—and were looking to add to their momentum after a bounce-back win over the Pirates.
But instead of waiting for the beginning of PAC-12 Play this Saturday against washington, Dana Altman and the Ducks decided to sharpen their skills against two more foes at Matt Knight Arena. Eastern Washington came into the contest hoping to earn their first win of the season, while Oregon aimed to preserve their 22-game home winning streak, which is the seventh-longest in the country.
Eugene Omoruyi hit the game’s opening shot, a three-pointer, to give the Ducks the early lead. However, behind big games from Casson Rouse, Jacob Davison and Tyler Robertson, the Eagles were able to fight for a six-point lead midway through the opening half.
Three of Oregon’s starting five had a combined six points: N’Faly Dante got the start, but played just 15 minutes, finishing with three points, five rebounds, two steals and two turnovers; Senior Chris Duarte nearly played the entirety of the game, but managed to score only once from the floor and once from the charity stripe; Amauri Huardy was 0-of-3 from the floor, though he did contribute five assists.
Thankfully, a trio from the Oregon bench contributed solid minutes to reclaim the lead. Sophomore Chandler Lawson entered the game and energized the Ducks with eight points before the half. The addition of LJ Figueroa from St. John’s once again proved vital as the guard recorded his first double-double at Oregon with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Jalen Terry also made an impression off the bench, scoring five points in the last 3:39 of the opening half, including a fastbreak dunk in which he sprinted the length of the court in under five seconds and finished with a dunk to give the Ducks a 36-32 lead just before the buzzer. Overall, the bench contributed 28 total points.
After Oregon expanded their lead with an 11-2 run at the top of the second half, the Duck defense was able to turn up the pressure. Omoruyi and Eric Williams Jr. looked especially good as the game went on, tallying 11 points each in the second half.
Omoruyi has emerged as Oregon’s best offensive threat, scoring double digits in all three of his games as a Duck. Against Eastern Washington, he lead all scorers with 18 points. He hit 1-of-3 from three-point land and 8-of-18 from the floor while also adding four rebounds and two assists. Williams hit three of his five shots from downtown, and finished with a double-double by snatching 10 rebounds.
After Williams scored five consecutive points to give the Ducks a 15-point lead late in the game, Terry scored the final bucket of the night - a triple that sealed Oregon’s 69-52 victory and extended the Ducks’ home winstreak to 23.
Oregon shot 44.4 percent from the floor (28-of-63), 38.1 percent from three (8-of-21), and hit five of their eight free throw shots. Oregon turned over the ball fourteen times and committed 16 turnovers. Eastern Washington was held to 33.3 percent shooting from the floor and 19.2 percent from three. The Ducks turned over the ball 14 times, but managed to overcome that by scoring 15 points off of their 11 forced turnovers.
23 consecutive home wins and 23 consecutive wins in home openers for the Ducks!— Oregon Men's Basketball (@OregonMBB) December 8, 2020
Eugene Omoruyi with 1️⃣8️⃣ pts
Double-Doubles for @Lj_Figueroa @ericwilliams708 #GoDucks #AlwaysUs pic.twitter.com/lHILKES1oZ
NEXT UP: Florida A&M
Wed, 8 PM, PAC-12 Network - Eugene, Oregon