Showdown in Vegas
Dec. 14, 2000
WHAT'S ON TAP . . . The young Ducks make their most ambitious road trip of the season with a two-game swing through the Southwest. Saturday, Dec. 16, Oregon squares off against Auburn in game one of the Las Vegas Showdown (game two features UNLV and Cincinnati). The game will be shown live nationally at 6:30 p.m. Pacific time on ESPN2. Then it's a bus trip into the Rocky Mountains for a game in the highest arena in the country -- Northern Arizona's Walkup Skydome. The Ducks and Lumberjacks meet Monday, Dec. 18, at 6 p.m. Pacific time (7 p.m. Mountain).
KENT NETS 150 . . . Oregon gave coach Ernie Kent his 150th career coaching victory by defeatring Illinois-Chicago 110-87 Tuesday night. Kent now has a 150-115 record in 10 seasons as collegiate head coach (60-35 at Oregon).
PICK SIX . . . Oregon is 6-0 for just the second time in the last 26 years, it's also just the third time Oregon has opened at 6-0 since the 1953-54 season. Through Tuesday's games, Oregon was one of only 18 unbeaten teams nationally (see list on p. 2). The last time Oregon opened at 6-0 was 1996-97, when that eventual NIT squad bowed at 10-0. Prior to that, you have to go back to 1974-75 -- when Ernie Kent and Greg Graham were sophomores -- for Oregon's last 6-0 start. All-time, Oregon now has 12 6-0 starts in its history. With a win over Auburn, the Ducks will start a season 7-0 for just the eighth time in their 96-year history.
OREGON TENTATIVE STARTERS
F 20 Frederick Jones 6-4 209 Jr. 17.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3.0 apgF 42 Bryan Bracey 6-7 210 Sr. 17.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg, .556 FGC 21 Julius Hicks 6-8 235 Sr. 7.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.8 bpgG 13 Luke Ridnour 6-2 165 Fr. 7.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.7 apgG 34 Anthony Norwood 6-3 185 Jr. 14.3 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 2.7 apg
HEAD COACH ERNIE KENT . . . Ernie Kent (Oregon `77) is in his fourth year at Oregon and he has the Ducks off to their first 6-0 start during his tenure. He has a 60-35 ledger with the Ducks and a 10-year career record of 150-115. Kent won more games in his first three seasons as Oregon's head coach (54) than any other Oregon mentor since Howard Hobson (64) from 1935-36 through 1937-38. The former six-year Saint Mary's (Calif.) coach led the Ducks to the NCAA Tournament last season and accomplished some pretty impressive feats along the way: 22 wins was the school's most in 55 years, 13 Pac-10 wins was the most in school history, the first road triumph over a Top 25 opponent since 1977 (67-66 neutral-court win over Wake Forest), a win over the highest-ranked foe since 1995 with the 86-81 upset of No. 3 Arizona. In 1998-99, Kent took the Ducks to a 19-13 mark and a trip to New York City for the NIT Final Four. Prior to his collegiate head coaching stints, he served two-year tenures as an assistant at Stanford (1990-91) and Colorado State (1988-89).
LUCKY SEVEN . . . Under Ernie Kent, Oregon is 17-5 in its last 22 games decided by seven points or less.
BRACEY YOURSELF . . . Senior forward Bryan Bracey continues to be one of the most improved players in 2000-01. After spending last season as Oregon's sixth man averaging 8.1 points and 3.6 rebounds per game, Bracey leads Oregon in scoring and rebounding at 17.8 points and 7.5 rebounds a game. The Chicago, Ill., native recorded his first career double-double in the season opener against Mississippi Valley State with 22 points and 12 rebounds. The 12 boards was a career high. He followed that with a 20-point, four-rebound game in Oregon's road opener at Denver. Bracey was named co-MVP of the Pape Jam after scoring a career-high 24 points in Oregon's 91-76 defeat of Massachusetts. And he netted 20 in Tuesday's win over Illinois-Chicago. That's four 20-point efforts in six games! He is shooting 55.6 percent (40-of-72) from the field and ranks fourth in scoring in the Pac-10.
STEALING HOME . . . In this week's Pac-10 stats (issued Dec. 11) Oregon led the conference in steals per game at 9.20. Arizona is next at 8.43. The Ducks have 51 steals through six games. Individually, Luke Ridnour and Frederick Jones are tied for ninth in the Pac-10 at 1.6 steals per game.
MR. JONES AND ME . . . It was expected that Frederick Jones would see an increase in his scoring average, and he has: 17.3 points per game through six games in 2000-01, compared to 9.7 ppg a season ago, but did you know that the junior from Gresham, Ore., has seen significant improvement in rebounding as well? He's second on the team at 6.5 per game (up from 3.9 rgp a year ago). Jones was named co-MVP of the Pape Jam after scoring 23 points (matching the second-highest effort of his career) and grabbing nine rebounds (one shy of his third career double-double) in Oregon's 91-76 defeat of Massachusetts.
JUICE THROWS A BLOCK PARTY . . . The long arms of senior center Julius Hicks have been on display in Oregon's last three games. He's blocked eight shots (three, three and two) in the last three contests. On the season, Hicks has 11 blocks (almost two a game) and ranks fourth in the Pac-10 at 1.8 swats per contest. Hicks' 11 blocks this season is more than a fourth of the way to Oregon's season record of 42, set by Blair Rasmussen in 1984. He's also just 12 blocks shy of entering the season top 10 at 23 (Henry Madden, 1997). The San Francisco native, who is averaging 7.3 points per game, is also third in the conference in field goal percentage at .630 (17-of-27). California's Solomon Hughes is the leader at .731.
FRESHMAN JITTERS - NOT SO MUCH . . . Three of Oregon's top seven scorers are freshman, led by Luke Jackson at 8.5 ppg (fourth). Luke Ridnour is fifth (7.8 ppg), while James Davis is seventh (4.3 ppg). What's also impressive has been the rookies' performance at the free throw line. Those three plus Jay Anderson are hitting 82 percent from the charity stripe (41-of-50). Ridnour also leads the team in assists (3.7 per game), while Jackson is the top free throw shooter (second in the Pac-10) at .889.
FRESH FACES . . . Oregon got a look at its future in the Nov. 25 84-66 defeat of Portland State. All four freshmen set then-career highs in scoring, led by forward Luke Jackson's 13 (all in the second half). Guard Luke Ridnour scored 12 with a career-high nine assists, while guard James Davis added 10 points (three three-pointers) and center Jay Anderson had four.
HOT SHOTS . . . The 85 points versus Mississippi Valley State was the most Oregon has scored in a season opener under Ernie Kent.
HOT SHOTS PART DEUX . . . The Ducks are smoking the nets to a .512 clip through six games. That includes a 58.9 percent effort (33-of-56) Nov. 21 at Denver, a 52.9 percent night (27-of-51) Dec. 2 versus Massachusetts and a 59.3 percent game (35-of-59) Dec. 12 against Illinois-Chicago.
KNOCK ON NORWOOD . . . Junior guard Anthony Norwood was one of Oregon's best players down the stretch last season and the Tucson, Ariz., native has continued his solid play through this season's first six games. Norwood set career highs in points and assists during the 99-90 win at Denver. He scored 25 points, which easily surpassed his previous high of 19 (set last year against Denver) and dished out seven assists. Through this year's first six games, Norwood is third on the team in scoring (14.3 ppg), leads the team with 16 three-pointers and ranks second in free throw percentage at .857 (ninth in the Pac-10).
FLO MOJO . . . Senior center Flo Hartenstein continues to improve after preseason knee surgery, that caused him to miss nearly all of fall camp. Flo came off the bench in the opener against Mississippi Valley State for his first appearance of 2000-01. And in typical workman-like form, Hartenstein contributed five points and four rebounds in 13 minutes of action. Against Denver, Flo was again effective off the bench, grabbing nine rebounds with six points and three steals in 23 minutes. He had two more steals against Portland State, leaving the German just eight shy of UO's career top 10!
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS . . . Ben Lindquist certainly likes playing Denver. The junior guard set his career high last season versus the Pioneers (13) and nearly matched that effort this year (12). He hit a pair of key three-pointers off the bench for the Ducks and made four-of-six overall from the field. He also likes the Pape Jam. Last season's MVP came off the bench to score seven points in the 91-76 win over Massachusetts.
ABOUT AUBURN . . . The Tigers are off to a solid 7-3 start, but have suffered some surprising losses in their first 10 games. Two that stand out are a 92-88 stumble against Mercer on Nov. 11 and a 68-66 upset against South Alabama on Dec. 1 Both games were at home. But Auburn has won three in a row and four of its last five despite losing one of its top players, Mack McGadney. The junior forward was the Tigers' leading rebounder (8.3 rpg) and averaged 15 points a game when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Dec. 4 win over Louisiana-Lafayette. The Tigers are coming off consecutive NCAA appearances in 1999 and 2000 and have been to the postseason five of six seasons under coach Cliff Ellis. The former head man at Clemson and South Alabama (who is also the winningest coach at both those schools) has a 127-72 mark at Auburn. The Tigers lost four starters off last season's NCAA squad. But like Oregon, Auburn has had several reserves and new players flourish in new roles this season. The biggest improvement has come from sophomore forward Marquis Daniels, who played in just 17 games last season (4.5 ppg), but is the Tigers' leading scorer at 17.3 points per game. The match-up between Daniels and Oregon's Bryan Bracey -- another 2000 reserve who is his team's leading scorer this season -- should be an intriguing one. Sophomore guard Adam Harrington is also in double figures (15.0), while Auburn's only returning starter from a year ago, senior guard Scott Pohlman, is at 13.4 ppg. The Tigers shoot the ball exceptionally well at 50.3 percent per game and out-rebound their opponents by more than nine a game. Auburn also has more assists, blocks and steals than the opposition. Their one weakness has come at the free throw line where the Tigers are converting just 59.7 percent.
TENTATIVE AUBURN STARTERS
F 3 Marcus Daniels 6-6 200 So. 17.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.6 spgF 21 Adam Harrington 6-5 185 So. 16.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.0 apgC 34 Kyle Davis 6-10 210 Fr. 3.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.6 bpgG 5 Jamison Brewer 6-4 180 So. 7.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 7.0 apgG 10 Scott Pohlman 6-2 170 Sr. 13.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.6 apg
RANDOM FACT: Auburn's 272-page men's basketball media guide is the thickest of any Oregon opponent this season. That's 120 pages thicker than Oregon's (and 56 pages thicker than the Duck football guide!).
ABOUT NORTHERN ARIZONA . . . The Lumberjacks are a disappointing 3-4, but are really just 10 points away from being 6-1. NAU's last three games were all extremely tight losses: Cal Poly (99-97 OT), Alabama A&M (57-55) and Duquesne (65-62). Like Oregon, the Lumberjacks have gone with the same five starters in their first seven games. Senior forward Corey Schwab is one of two returning starters and leads NAU at 22.3 points per game. Sophomore forward Ryan McDade is at 13.4 points per game, while junior center Casey Grundman is at 10.6 points per game. Oregon and NAU are similar in their penchant for the three-ball: Both teams hit more than nine a game. Turnovers have been a problem for NAU, the Lumberjacks are averaging nearly 18 per game, compared to just eight a game for the opposition. NAU defeated Cal-State Northridge in the Big Sky Conference championship game to earn their second NCAA Tournament trip in three years. Coach Mike Adras was 20-11 in his first year in Flagstaff and is now 23-15 into his second year with the Lumberjacks.
TENTATIVE NORTHERN ARIZONA STARTERS
F 21 Cory Schwab 6-5 207 Sr. 22.3 ppg, 2.7 rpgF 31 Ryan McDade 6-7 235 So. 13.4 ppg, 9.9 rpgC 42 Casey Grundman 6-9 220 Jr. 10.6 ppg, 5.6 rpgG 4 Matthew Gebhardt 6-4 204 Jr. 5.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.6 apgG 14 Adam Lopez 6-0 165 Jr. 9.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 6.7 apg
ABOUT THE WALKUP SKYDOME . . . The J. Lawrence Walkup Skydome is the highest Division I arena in the United States. It is a multi-purpose dome that is used for basketball, football, volleyball, tennis and track. NAU is one of just eight colleges in the country that own their own dome. Over the last five seasons, NAU holds a remarkable 47-4 record at Walkup Skydome.
LAST TIME VS. NORTHERN ARIZONA . . . Oregon jumped on Northern Arizona early and never looked back in a 91-54 win Dec. 22 at Mac Court. The Ducks led 44-23 at the half and cruised to the 37-point victory. Alex Scales led all Ducks with 15 points, while A.D. Smith added 13, Frederick Jones had 12 and Chris Christoffersen had 10.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS . . . Flo Hartenstein and Frederick Jones are wasting no time in trying to leave their marks on the Oregon career blocks and steals charts. One of the more interesting career notes is that Jones, a guard, ranks eighth in career blocks with 46. His one block versus Portland State leaves him just two out of seventh all time. Hartenstein, with 34 career blocks, is just three away from joining the top 10 himself. On the other side of the coin, Hartenstein had two steals against Portland State, which leaves the German with 65 career and just eight shy from entering that career top 10. Jones needs 13 more swipes for a spot in the steals top 10. Jones is also closing in on the Duck career top 10 in three pointers. He had three in the Illinois-Chicago game to move to 74, seven away from the top 10.
TOP OF THE CLASS . . . Oregon's 1999-2000 recruiting class was rated best in the West by most services, including Bob Gibbons and Hoop Scoop's Clark Francis. The four freshmen who make up this stellar class are Parade and McDonald's All-American Luke Ridnour (6-2, 165, PG, Blaine, Wash./Blaine HS), Oregon 3A player of the year Luke Jackson (6-7, 210, F, Creswell, Ore./Creswell HS), sharp-shooter James Davis (5-10, 170, G, Vancouver, Wash./Evergreen HS) and Jay Anderson (6-9, 220, C, Faribault, Minn./Faribault HS). UO's list of newcomers also includes junior forward Mark Michaelis (6-10, 230, F, South Jordan, Utah), a transfer from Brigham Young.
DICKIE V SAYS . . . That Oregon freshman point guard Luke Ridnour is good. How good? Vitale, the ESPN harbinger of over-the-top college basketball analysis, tabbed Ridnour as the Pac-10's 'Diaper Dandy,' aka, his freshman of the year.
USE THE FORCE, LUKE . . . Luke Ridnour became the first true freshman to start at the point for Oregon since Kenya Wilkins in 1993-94. That season, Wilkins set the UO freshman assists record with 142 (many going to Duck career three-point FG leader Orlando Williams). Ridnour leads the team with 22 (3.7 apg) assists so far in 2000-01.
ILLINOIS-CHICAGO RECAP . . . Bryan Bracey and Frederick Jones each scored 20 points as Oregon, coming off a 10-day break, beat Illinois-Chicago 110-87 Dec. 12 at McArthur Court. Five players scored in double digits as the Ducks scored their most points in four seasons under head coach Ernie Kent, who was rewarded with his 150th career coaching victory. Kent is 60-35 at Oregon, 6-0 this season. The Ducks are one of just 18 undefeated teams left in the nation this season. Joe Scott scored 29 points to lead the Flames (4-4), who also got 17 points and 14 rebounds from Maurice Brown. The Ducks converted 59 percent of their shots, and 12 of 23 3-pointers. Anthony Norwood scored 17, while freshmen Luke Jackson and Luke Ridnour notched career highs of 16 and 14 points, respectively. Oregon led 52-42 at halftime and despite an early run in the second half, couldn't shake Illinois-Chicago until close to the 10-minute mark. Leading 69-58, Oregon went on an 8-0 run as Jackson and Ben Lindquist hit 3-pointers and Jackson added a bank shot to give the Ducks a 77-58 lead with 9:56 left. Consecutive 3-pointers by the Flames cut the lead to 77-64, but the Ducks took a 20-point lead with 4:40 remaining on a floater in the lane by Ridnour and cruised from there. In the first half, Oregon had its 18-point lead trimmed to 10 by halftime as the Flames went on a 20-12 run in the final six minutes, capped by Aaron Carr's 30-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer. The Ducks initially broke the game open with a 14-2 run that turned a 26-20 lead into a 40-22 advantage midway through the first half. During the run, Jones had two 3-pointers and Norwood had one, while Bracey scored six of his 17 first-half points. The 110 points was the most scored by Oregon since the Ducks hit 115 in the 1995-96 season opener against Hawaii-Hilo. Oregon is 6-0 for just the second time in 26 years.
MASSACHUSETTS RECAP . . . Bryan Bracey had a career-high 24 points and Freddie Jones added 23 as Oregon improved to 5-0 for only the second time in 26 years by defeating Massachusetts 91-76 Dec. 2 at the Pape Jam, played the Rose Garden in Portland. Oregon continued its best start since the 1996-97 team went 10-0. Before that, the last time the Ducks won their first five games was in 1974-75, when they also started 10-0. Massachusetts (1-3) was led by Monty Mack's 26 points, but he had just six in the second half. Micah Brand added 19. Anthony Norwood added 12 points as Oregon scored a season-high 50 in the first half and withstood a sloppy second half plagued by fouls and turnovers. The Minutemen were outrebounded for the fourth straight time this season, 34-26. They were beaten 52-30 in that department during a 23-point loss to Holy Cross last Saturday. UMass trailed by 10 at halftime, and stayed within striking distance for much of the second half. But the team hurt itself badly with two mental mistakes that resulted in a six-point possession for the Ducks. With Oregon ahead 58-52, UMass' Jackie Rogers was called for an intentional foul on Jones, who made both free throws. The Minutemen's Eric Williams was then whistled for a technical after throwing an elbow at Anthony Norwood, who made two more from the line. Oregon kept the ball, and Jones made a mid-range jumper for a 64-52 lead with 9:42 to go. UMass got within 67-62, but the Ducks put it away with consecutive jumpers by Ben Lindquist and Bracey with 5:54 left.
PORTLAND RECAP . . . Frederick Jones scored 16 points as Oregon received a scare from Portland but held on to defeat the Pilots for the 20th consecutive time 66-60 Nov. 28 at Mac Court. Luke Ridnour and Anthony Norwood had 11 points each for the Ducks, who got off to a 4-0 start for only the second time in 23 years and the first time in four seasons. Oregon had its 12-point halftime lead nearly erased when its cold shooting at the start of the second half opened the door for a 17-3 run by the Pilots, who got within 45-44 with 9:26 remaining in the game. But Norwood hit a 3-pointer for the Ducks and Jones added a jumper and a dunk to give Oregon a 52-44 cushion. Portland wouldn't go away, though, and with 24 seconds remaining, Ryan Jones made a lay up and was fouled by Frederick Jones. His free throw made it 62-60. But the Pilots couldn't make another shot after that, and Ridnour and Luke Jackson each sank a pair of free throws in the final seconds to secure the Ducks' victory. The last time Portland defeated Oregon was Feb. 18, 1964, an 88-80 win in Eugene. The 20-game streak is Oregon's longest current one over any opponent.
PORTLAND STATE RECAP . . . Oregon's first six baskets were three-pointers in a sloppy first half, but the Ducks turned the game in to a rout by opening the second frame on a 23-3 run and defeated Portland State 84-66 Nov. 25 at Mac Court. All four of Oregon's freshmen had the best performances of their young careers with forward Luke Jackson leading the way with 13 points. Guard Luke Ridnour added 12 points with a career-bests in assists (9) and rebounds (6), while guard James Davis scored 10 and center Jay Anderson added four. Senior forward Bryan Bracey led the veterans with 12 points and eight rebounds. Oregon netted 13 three-pointers for the game, two off the school record of 15.
DENVER RECAP . . . A much-improved Pioneer squad tested the young Ducks before falling 99-90 Nov. 21 at Magnuss Arena. Anthony Norwood led Oregon with a career-high 25 points and seven assists (also a career high). Norwood knocked in four three-pointers, the last of which was a dagger to the Pioneers -- a circus-like jumper as the shot clock expired with less than two minutes remaining in the game. Bryan Bracey scored 20 for the Ducks (his second straight 20-point game), while Frederick Jones added 15 and Ben Lindquist had 12. Julius Hicks had seven points and a career-high nine rebounds before fouling out. Oregon shot a remarkable 58.9 percent from the field (33-of-56) and 52.2 percent from beyond the arc (12-of-23). The Ducks had to stay hot as Denver shot 50 percent from three-point land (13-of-26).
MVSU RECAP . . . Oregon's veteran players stepped up when needed in a 21-4 run that spanned 10 minutes at the end of the first half and beginning of the second as Oregon put away a pesky Mississippi Valley State team 85-70 in the season opener Nov. 17 at Mac Court. Bryan Bracey led the charge with his first career double-double (22 points, 12 rebounds), setting a career high in boards. Frederick Jones added 21 points (his fourth career 20-point game) and grabbed seven boards. Anthony Norwood had 15 points in a career-best 27 minutes. Julius Hicks contributed nine points (four-of-four from the floor) and grabbed seven rebounds. The great rebounding effort from the veterans, which also included five from Flo Hartenstein in his first game back after missing the preseason recovering from knee surgery, led to a 47-31 rebounding edge (32-17 defensive). But there were a couple of areas left to work on. Oregon left 11 points at the free throw line, hitting 19-of-30 (63.3 percent) and committed more turnovers than MVSU, 25-20.
TAKE A BOW . . . For the first time in three years, Oregon's opening day starting lineup looked dramatically different that the year before. In fact, with senior center Flo Hartenstein, who started every game last season, recoverning from preseason knee surgery, only Frederick Jones carried over from last season's starting five. The other three missing players were well entrenched in their starting roles the past two seasons: 1999-2000 seniors Alex Scales (an all-Pac-10 performer), A.D. Smith and Darius Wright. In place of Flo and the three seniors were four players with four combined career starts. Bryan Bracey and Julius Hicks opened in the frontcourt, it was Bracey's third opening assignment, while it was the first for Hicks. In the backcourt, Anthony Norwood made his third start, while freshman point guard Luke Ridnour debuted in a starting role. Only Jones, who made his 33rd career start, had more than two career starts among the starting five.
SEASON TICKET SALES REACH RECORD LEVEL . . . Oregon's 2000-01 season ticket sales have exceeded a record 5,100 reserved seats. That number compares to 4,876 season tickets sold all of last year. The Ducks averaged 8,240 fans for 14 home games in McArthur Court a season ago (8,936 for nine Pacific-10 Conference games) in the facility with a capacity of 9,087. A limited number of single-game reserve seats for most home games are available for purchase in person at the Casanova Center Ticket Office or by calling 346-4461 (out-of-town 1-800-WEBFOOT). All single-game reserved seats are $18.
NEW NIKE UNIFORMS . . . The goal was to create a new, sleeker hoop uniform that incorporated the identity (colors and marks) that Nike had successfully instituted for the Oregon football team a year prior. Coach Ernie Kent and his staff were heavily involved in providing input and choosing from several uniform options presented by Nike. The uniform technology and fit were inspired by elements from Nike Olympic basketball uniforms for Sydney 2000. The uniform's body is made of Dri-FIT shimmer fabric. Dri-FIT is a technically superior fabric with the comfort of cotton but with the ability to alleviate the heaviness of sweat-soaked fabric. Dri-FIT dries more quickly than any of the traditional fabrics by 'wicking' away moisture, leaving the athlete cool, dry and comfortable. With the material's eye-catching sheen, it provides not only valuable technical features but also offers some visual flash. Sleek piping and aggressive color blocking running from the jersey through the short, gives the uniform a more modern, faster look. 'Ducks' is embroidered on the top back of both home and away shorts. As with Oregon's successful football team uniform, the Night Green and Lightning Yellow colors replace the traditional Kelly Green and Gold color combination. 'From our players who have had a chance to wear the new uniforms, to all the people on the Oregon staff who have had the opportunity to see the new uniforms, everyone is excited about how they fit, feel and look,' Kent said. 'These new Nike uniforms will bring Oregon back into the forefront of in terms of image and style as we head into the new millennium. I think our fans will like the two different uniform designs and I think our players will like their ability to perform in this new material.' The team short has incorporated two new Nike innovations. One is Gripper Elastic, which is found on the inside of the waistband. It is a simple yet dramatically effective material that exposes rubber to catch, or grip, the game jersey and hold it tucked in. Players will spend far less game time adjusting and re-adjusting game jerseys, allowing for more concentration on the game. The second innovation is a gusset, or material insert, in the short that allows for more comfort with an improved range of motion. Nike Team Sports is offering an extensive line of Oregon retail products this fall, including a replica version of the new basketball uniform.
SHORT STOPS HERE . . . 6-11, 220-lbs., center Matt Short of Yreka, Calif., signed a national letter of intent to play for the Ducks during the November signing period. Ranked among the top five prep centers on the West Coast, Short averaged 13.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game as a junior for Yreka and earned all-NAL honors.
OREGON IN OPENERS . . . With the opening night 85-70 win over Mississippi Valley State (Nov. 17), the Ducks have now won nine straight season openers, which is second in the Pac-10 to Stanford's 13. The UO streak dates back to a 1991-92 loss against Montana (78-39). Since then, Oregon has defeated Alaska-Anchorage (96-73), Humboldt State (90-67), Wisconsin-Green Bay (96-71), Hawaii-Hilo (115-81), San Diego State (91-66), Brigham Young (74-67), Coppin State (77-62), Illinois-Chicago (65-58) and now Mississippi Valley State. All-time, Oregon is now 59-37 in 96 season openers. The Ducks also extended another streak by defeating Denver 99-90 Nov. 21. The Ducks have now won six straight road openers dating to an 88-83 loss at Santa Clara in 1994-95.
IN THE CLUTCH . . . The Ducks were 12-5 in games decided by seven points or less last season.