It has been almost a Jekel & Hyde situation for Oregon Men’s Basketball early in this season. In its first two games, the Ducks dominated two solid teams at home, one an NCAA Tournament participant from the previous year.
Then came the Moda Center Massacre as they were completely obliterated by BYU in Portland.
To start the Maui Jim Invitational in beautiful Mau...er, Las Vegas, Oregon appeared to have put the lopsided loss behind them as they blew out Chamindae.
But suddenly, they reverted from the oppressor back to the oppressed in a 62-50 loss to Saint Mary’s in which Oregon’s offense became stagnant and ice cold from the perimeter.
The Ducks shot 39.2% from the field for the game and compiled just six assists on 25 made baskets. Though the Ducks fared well in the paint thanks to the work of big men N’Faly Dante and Franck Kepnang, they were stone cold from the perimeter, something that was also in effect in the loss to BYU.
Eric Williams Jr. was the only Duck to finish in double figures with 13 points. Oregon was an anemic 7 of 27 from the field in the first half and ended it with only 15 points. Although they improved vastly in the second half, it was never enough to make it uncomfortable for Saint Mary’s, who stayed in command until the end.
Oregon’s best teams in recent years have always moved the ball around and hit outside shots, and this team certainly appears capable of it in their wins so far, yet they haven’t shown early consistency in that realm.
Traditionally, Dana Altman teams at Oregon end the season playing their best basketball, even after struggling in the early and midseason. So although there is clearly no reason to believe that this team cannot still accomplish a great deal this season, these early struggles can’t be overlooked.
The Ducks will quickly have another chance to right the ship as they face Houston at 11:30am tomorrow.