Oregon Visits Portland

Nov. 29, 2001

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WHAT'S ON TAP . . . Oregon plays its first true road game of the season (Louisville and Massachusetts were considered neutral courts) when it travels to the Chiles Center to meet the Portland Pilots on Sunday, Dec. 2, at 3:00 p.m. The Portland-based Action Sports Cable Network will broadcast the game live to parts of Oregon, Washington and California. Check the ASCN web site (www.ascn.net) for coverage areas.

QUICK HITS...A brief look at what to watch for Sunday:

The Ducks have won 20 straight against Portland and have not lost to the Pilots since an 88-80 decision on Feb. 18, 1964, in Eugene.

Rev up the offense. Oregon will be looking to get its high-octane offense back on track after Massachusetts held the Ducks to just 58 points -- more than 30 below their season average.

Defense. The Ducks continue to be a much-improved defensive team. Through its first five games, Oregon is surrendering just 58.4 points per game, compared to 72.4 ppg at the same point a year ago.

How's this for balance: through the first five games, all five starters are averaging between 10.4 and 13.8 points per game.

So far, a different player has led Oregon in scoring in four of the first five four games. Against Alabama State sophomore guard James Davis led the way with a career-high 18 points, including six-of-eight from three-point land. Senior center Chris Christoffersen scored a career-high 18 points against Western Michigan, hitting seven-of-10 from the floor. Then Pac-10 freshman of the year Luke Ridnour scored a career-high 18 points in Oregon's win over Long Beach State. Senior guard Frederick Jones kept that streak alive with a season-high 20 versus Louisville. Jones was again the high scorer with 13 at Massachusetts, but three other Ducks were right on his tail with 12.

Christoffersen is coming off his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds at Massachusetts.

Jones, who became the 22nd 1,000-point scorer at UO in the season opener, has two MVP awards already this season (America's Youth Classic and the Pape Jam).

Jones continues to move up the scoring list, taking over the No. 19 spot in the win over Louisville. At 1,063 career points, he's 19 points shy of 18th, 24 away from 17th and 27 out of 16th.

JC transfer Robert Johnson is making a tremendous impact up front. Johnson has three 10-rebound games in his first five outings as a Duck and leads the team at 8.8 boards per game. Johnson debuted with a double-double -- 14 points and 10 rebounds -- against Alabama State and was named to the America's Youth Classic all-tournament team.

Jones entered the UO career top five in steals during the Long Beach State game and now has 96. He needs one more for fourth place.

Jones moved into the UO career top five in blocked shots against Alabama State, and enters the Portland game with 58, needing five more for fourth place.

Jones moves into sixth in UO career 3 FG with six more.

Jones moves into seventh in career assists with nine more.

Christoffersen climbed to ninth in UO career blocks against Massachusetts and now has 44, he'll move into eighth with four more.

Senior guard Anthony Lever enters the UO career top 10 with 11 more 3 FG.

UNDER THE RADAR . . . Some things you might have overlooked in the first four games:

Coming off the bench, senior guard Anthony Lever is shooting an amazing 71.4 percent (10-of-14) from three-point range.

Oregon has out-rebounded all five opponents this season. On average, the Ducks' edge is 40.2 to 29.2.

HEAD COACH ERNIE KENT . . . Ernie Kent (Oregon '77) is in his fifth year at Oregon. He has a 72-50 ledger with the Ducks and an 11-year career record of 162-130. He was an assistant coach for the 2001 USA Basketball 21-and-Under team that won the gold medal at the summer games in Japan. He also holds posts on the NCAA Basketball Issues Committee and is a member of the NABC's Board of Directors.

Kent won his 150th game as a collegiate head coach Dec. 12, 2000, versus Illinois-Chicago (110-87). He has won more games in his first four seasons as Oregon's head coach (68) than any other Oregon mentor since Howard Hobson (93) from 1935-36 through 1938-39. The former six-year Saint Mary's (Calif.) coach led the Ducks to the NCAA Tournament in 1999-00 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 St. Mary's, he served two-year tenures as an assistant at Stanford (1990-91) and Colorado State (1988-89).

LUCKY SEVEN . . . Under Ernie Kent, Oregon is 18-12 in its last 30 games decided by seven points or less.

COACHING STAFF . . . Assistant Greg Graham is in his fifth season, while Scott Duncan is in his second season. Fred Litzenberger is in his first season after spending the last six years with the Oregon women. Mark Hudson is in his fifth year with the program, but is in his first as director of basketball operations.

REMEMBER THE 90s? . . . For just the second time in school history, Oregon scored 90 or more points in four straight games -- 92 against Alabama State, 91 against Western Michigan, 97 against Long Beach State and 90 against Louisville to open the season. The only other time that happened was 32 years ago when Steve Belko's 1969-70 squad posted 98 points against California, 92 versus Stanford, 121 against Portland and 92 against USC from Feb. 13-20.

CH-CH-CH-CHANGES...Anthony Lever, formerly Anthony Norwood, changed his last name to that of his natural father, former Arizona State and NBA star Lafayette 'Fat' Lever, during the summer. Walk-on senior guard Kristian Christensen will be wearing No. 21 -- the same number he wore as a freshman -- after donning No. 12 the last two years.

RAG TAG . . . Here's a look at where several preseason magazines and other services rank the Ducks in the Pac-10, and in the nation:

Source Pac-10 NationalThe Sporting News 8 66Basketball News 8 --Lindy's 7 --ESPN.com 7 --Street & Smith's 7 --Athlon 7 NIT

BASKETBALL JONES . . . Senior guard Frederick Jones is the only player in school history ranked among Oregon's career top eight in three-point field goals, assists, blocks and steals. A preseason all-Pac-10 pick by ESPN.com (along with Casey Jacobsen of Stanford, Jason Kapono of UCLA, Sam Clancy of USC and Jason Gardner of Arizona), Jones became the 22nd member of Oregon's 1,000-point club in the season opener against Alabama State. Jones was an all-Pac-10 honorable mention selection a year ago after averaging 14.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.

ADD JONES . . . Joe Dwyer of FOXSports.com has tabbed Jones and Marist's Sean Kennedy as the two vastly underrated players that he will keep track of in a weekly watch.

AFTER RID-NIGHT . . . Luke Ridnour became the first player in Oregon history to be named Pac-10 freshman of the year. He averaged 7.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. 'Rid' was the first true freshman to start at the point for Oregon since Kenya Wilkins in 1993-94 and posted an impressive assist-to-turnover ratio of 106-to-67.

ABOUT PORTLAND. . . The Pilots, 2-2, are coming off a hard-fought 71-66 win at Idaho on Wednesday. Portland dropped a 104-62 decision at No. 1 Duke last week. The Pilots also have a win against UC Riverside (75-67) and an overtime loss to Idaho State (96-90). Coky Rochin and Casey Frandsen are both scoring 18.5 points per game. Frandsen had a career-high 28 points at Duke. Rochin is averaging close to a double-double at 18.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. Ross Jorgusen is at 13.0 points per game. Portland is averaging 20.2 turnovers per game, but that number is a bit on the high side as the Pilots committed 27 against the Blue Devils.

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, 2000, at Mac Court. Luke Ridnour and Anthony Lever had 11 points each for the Ducks. 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 Lever 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.

CLIMBING THE CHARTS . . . A trio of Ducks are climbing the Oregon career charts. Frederick Jones and Chris Christoffersen will both end their careers among the UO career top 10 in blocked shots, while Jones will leave a larger legacy in many statistical categories.

Jones is now ranked in the career top eight in four categories: three-point field goals, assists, blocks and steals. During the Alabama State game, he had two blocks to pass Jerry Adams (57/1981-86) with 58 career. He is now five back of No. 4 Brett Coffey (59/1987-89). Jones had two steals against Massachusetts to give him 96 career. He needs two more steals to pass former teammate A.D. Smith (97/1995-00) for fourth. His 98 career three-point field goals are six behind No. 6 Alex Scales (104/1998-00). And his 270 career assists rank eighth, nine short of No. 7 Mike Barwig (279/1972-76).

Jones is also poised to make a major climb into the UO career scoring list. He scored 13 points against Massachusetts to tally 1,063 career points. He needs 20 points to pass Mike Clark (1,082/1977-81).

Christoffersen had a pair of blocks versus UMass to pass former teammate Julius Hicks (43/1999-01) for ninth. 'Big Chris' needs five blocks to pass Keith Balderston (48/1984-88) for eighth.

Anthony Lever needs nine three-point field goals to reach the top 10.

ALABAMA STATE RECAP . . . The Ducks won their tenth straight season opener by defeating Alabama State 92-52 Thursday. That streak is second in the Pac-10 to Stanford's 13. James Davis scored a career-high 18 points off the bench, while Robert Johnson impressed in his Duck debut with a double-double: 14 points and 10 rebounds. Five Ducks were in double figures and all but one who played scored at least two points. Oregon held the Hornets to just 52 points, that was the lowest total allowed in a season-opener by Oregon in 19 years (UC San Diego, 63-46 to open the 1982-83 season).

WESTERN MICHIGAN RECAP . . . Oregon's defense continued to shine, allowing the Broncos to score just 48 points -- matching the lowest total given up in coach Ernie Kent's five years at his alma mater -- in a 91-48 victory. Chris Christoffersen scored a career-high 18 points on seven-of-10 shooting from the floor. Anthony Lever came off the bench to add 15 points, including four-of-five three-pointers, while Luke Ridnour scored 12 points and Frederick Jones added 11 points and six assists. Robert Johnson just missed his second straight double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds, while another newcomer, Brian Helquist neared a double-double as well with eight points and nine rebounds. The Ducks held the Broncos to just 30 percent from the floor (18-of-60) and out-rebounded the smaller Broncos 46-26.

LONG BEACH STATE RECAP . . . Luke Ridnour had a career-high 18 points and seven assists as Oregon remained undefeated this season with a 97-67 win against Long Beach State in the America's Youth Classic. Tournament MVP Frederick Jones added a season-high 16 points, Chris Christoffersen 11 and Luke Jackson 10 points and eight rebounds. For the third straight game, the Ducks held the rebound advantage (35-33) and made more than half their field-goal attempts (35-65) en route to their highest point total of the young season. Oregon had scoring runs of 9-0 and 18-0 to start the game as it took an early 27-5 lead. James Davis came off the bench to score eight of the final 10 points in the last run, while the 49ers countered with only two field goals in the first 13 minutes of the game. Long Beach State fought its way back into the game, however, scoring 22 points in the final seven minutes, including nine from James Williams, who led the 49ers with 17 overall. But Oregon still maintained a 44-27 advantage at the break, and took little time extending it once the second half started, taking a 30-point lead on a three-pointer by Anthony Lever that made it 69-39 at the 11:25 mark and the teams played evenly until the end. Joining Jones on the all-tournament team were Oregon's Robert Johnson, the 49ers' Williams, Joey Ball of Alabama State and Steve Reynolds of Western Michigan.

LOUISVILLE RECAP . . . Frederick Jones scored 20 points, and Oregon got some unusually strong play from its big men to dominate Rick Pitino's Louisville team 90-63. Robert Johnson added 10 rebounds for the Ducks, who have won their games by a combined 140 points but needed to face a good opponent like Louisville to show how much they've improved over last season's 14-14 team. Erik Brown scored 20 points and Ellis Myles had 15 points and 13 rebounds to lead Louisville. Center Chris Christoffersen, a 7-foot-2, 300-pound Dane who's still learning the game, had 13 points, including six during a quick 8-2 run to start the second half, when the Ducks expanded their lead to 24. Christoffersen, who averaged just 3.3 points and 9.0 minutes last season, put a spin move on Myles along the baseline for a layup and a free throw that made it 68-43 with 9:52 left. Oregon actually started pulling away midway through the first half, when Louisville was within 17-16. Luke Jackson made a 3-pointer, and reserve forward Brian Helquist had three inside baskets to keep the run going. Two free throws and a 3-pointer by Luke Ridnour ended a 22-9 surge that put Oregon ahead 48-30 at halftime. Helquist, a 6-foot-9 transfer from Florida Community College in Jacksonville, had 10 points. The 6-8 Johnson, who came from Santa Rosa (Calif.) Junior College, had only eight points, but his and Helquist's play freed up the outside shooters. Luke Ridnour had 13 points.

MASSACHUSETTS RECAP . . . Micah Brand sank a turn-around basket with 1:15 remaining and followed with a pair of free throws in the final minute to lead Massachusetts past previously unbeaten Oregon 62-58, Nov. 27 in Springfield, Mass. Oregon led 58-57 with two minutes remaining, but Brand's basket with 1:15 remaining put the Minutemen ahead for good. He added two free throws after the teams traded turnovers in the final minute. Shannon Crooks led UMass with 13 points. Frederick Jones led Oregon with 13 points. Robert Johnson, Luke Jackson and Chris Christoffersen had 12 each for the Ducks, who shot 35.8 percent from the field and were just 3-of-14 on 3-point attempts. Oregon opened up 11-point leads twice in the first half at 19-8 and 21-10. The Minutemen got back into the game with a string of 3-pointers and took their first lead at 27-26 on a driving basket by Anthony Anderson. The teams traded baskets before Christoffersen's layup put Oregon ahead 32-31 at halftime. Christoffersen had his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.


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