It only takes looking at Oregon’s roster on paper to realize, but seeing it on the court only emphasizes it.
The Ducks are big.
Led by their twin towers N’Faly Dante and Nate Bittle, Oregon tallied an 82-71 victory over Georgia to begin their 2023-24 campaign on the hardwood.
Playing in front of a miniscule crowd (1:30 pm on a Monday...In Vegas??), the Ducks still put on an impressive show as they bullied the Bulldogs inside, outscoring them 48 to 20 inside and giving opposing teams a glimpse of what they’ll have to contend with in the post.
Often able to win with small ball teams, most notably in 2017 and 2019, head coach Dana Altman seems to be embracing the “Tall Firs” mantra as 7-footers N’Faly Dante and Nate Bittle are starting together.
They didn’t disappoint.
Dante notched 16 points and a career-best 21 rebounds and Bittle contributed 13 points and nine rebounds as Georgia simply had no answer for their length.
Speaking of which, Kwame Evans Jr, the 6-foot-10 forward, made his debut for the Ducks and looked like a great fit. Fellow incoming blue chippers Jackson Shelstad and Mookie Cook are out for now due to injury, but if the way Oregon played without them was any indication, the team will only become more dangerous upon their return.
Multiple times Oregon jumped out to double digit leads, but Georgia was a feisty bunch, continuing to fight and close the gap. It was an eight point game with just over a minute to go and the Bulldogs had the ball, but an Oregon steal and fast break dunk sealed the deal.
The guard play from Oregon wasn’t too shabby either. Keeshawn Barthalemey and Jesse Zarzuela were pests on defense and Brennan Rigsby and Jermaine Couisnard tallied 16 and 14 points respectively.
The Ducks will hit the floor at MKA Friday to play Montana at 6pm.