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Men’s Basketball is back to Square One

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The Ducks suffered yet another blowout thanks to a second straight dud of a first half.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Oregon at Southern California IndyStar-USA TODAY Sports

Whatever has been in the air during Oregon Men’s Basketball’s neutral site games needs to be bottled.

Then, a vaccine needs to be manufactured from it and administered to the team at the earliest convenience.

For the second consecutive time in less than 24 hours the Ducks turned in an absolutely abysmal first half that saw them compiling only 19 points and trailing by 22 at halftime.

That was all No.12 Houston needed to coast through the second half and hand Oregon a 78-49 back-alley whipping that put Oregon at 3-3 on the season and sent them back to Eugene with a myriad of questions to answer.

The first and most pressing has got to be, what on earth happened to Oregon’s shooting? The Ducks shot 39% from the field and 26% from the three point line. This was the second game in a row Oregon failed to reach even 40% shooting from the field or surpass 50 points for the game.

Interestingly enough, Oregon looks like a good shooting team on paper. Guards Will Richardson, Jacob Young, and De’Vion Harmon all shot better than 40% from outside the arc last season. Couple that with the open looks created by domineering big men N’Faly Dante and Franck Kepnang and it becomes a real head-scratcher.

Equally as confusing is where Oregon’s first-half fire has gone. In their three losses, the Ducks have failed to score 20 first half points in every one. At that point it doesn’t matter how feisty the team is or what adjustments Dana Altman makes for the second half, it just becomes too big of a hole to climb out of.

Oregon will now play their next three straight in the comfortable confines of Matthew Knight Arena, and will be in Eugene for eight of their next nine games.

Though the Ducks have come up painfully short in their chances so far, there is still one more opportunity awaiting them for a signature non-conference victory when defending National Champion and No. 6 Baylor visits Oregon on December 18th.

It could be a huge boost for Oregon the rest of the season should they pull off the upset, but in the meantime they have five more games, including two early Pac 12 contests, to prepare.

If the Maui Invitational was any indication, however, it will be an uphill climb.