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MBB: Bigs provide spark in Oregon’s opening win

The Ducks relied on their tall firs on a night when deep shots were not falling

Syndication: The Register Guard Chris Pietsch/The Register Guard / USA TODAY NETWORK

It has been a long time since Oregon Men’s Basketball had as imposing of a post squad as it currently does. And on a night when Oregon’s outside shots were drawing far more iron than net, the big men sealed the deal for the Ducks’ 80-45 victory over Florida A&M to begin the 2022-23 campaign.

Oregon starting center N’Faly Dante tallied 16 points and 10 rebounds, Nate Bittle provided 10 points off the bench, and freshman big man Kel’el Ware added eight points, five rebounds, and three blocked shots. The post play proved to be the high point offensively as Oregon struggled shooting the ball from deep, connecting on only 24% of their attempts.

Free throws were another issue, as Oregon shot only 57% from the charity stripe on the evening. Rebounds, however, were heavily in Oregon’s favor, aided in part by their significant size advantage.

Oregon veteran Will Richardson, entering his final season with the Ducks, contributed 11 points, and Keeshawn Barthelemy notched 13 points, bolstering Oregon’s backcourt play.

Leading only 36-25 at halftime, the Ducks ran away with the game in the second half, and a pair of 3-pointers that dropped for Richardson in the final minutes gave Oregon its largest lead at 77-41.

The Ducks continue their early season home stretch with contests against UC Irvine and Montana State before welcoming in powerhouse Houston for a potential revenge game. Oregon then finishes up the month with three games in Portland. Oregon’s first game out of state won’t be until December 4th, when they travel to Los Angeles to take on UCLA for their second conference game of the season.