Oregon Hosts Pepperdine, Northern Arizona
Dec. 12, 2001
WHAT'S ON TAP . . . It's been nearly a month since the Ducks last played at McArthur Court (a 97-67 defeat of Long Beach State on Nov. 17). Since then, it's been a game versus Louisville at the Rose Garden and three straight road trips to Massachusetts, Portland and Minnesota. So Oregon is ready for a little home cooking when it hosts Pepperdine on Friday, Dec. 14 at 7:00 p.m. and Northern Arizona on Sunday, December 16 at 1:00 p.m. The Oregon-Pepperdine game will be shown live regionally in the Pacific Northwest on Fox Sports Net. The two games are a final tune-up before Pac-10 play gets underway -- earlier than usual this season because of the Pac-10 Tournament -- with the Ducks hosting Arizona State on Thursday, Dec. 20.
TENTATIVE OREGON STARTERS
F 3 Robert Johnson 6-8 235 Jr. 9.6 ppg, 8.4 rpg, .523 FG Pct.F 33 Luke Jackson 6-7 215 So. 12.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.0 apgC 25 Chris Christoffersen 7-2 300 Sr. 11.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg, .647 FG Pct.G 13 Luke Ridnour 6-2 165 So. 12.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 5.3 apgG 20 Frederick Jones 6-4 209 Sr. 12.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.0 apg
QUICK HITS...A brief look at what to watch for this weekend:
Eight points. That's the difference between Oregon's current 4-3 mark and a perfect 7-0 record. The Ducks have lost their last three games by a combined eight points.
Defense. The Ducks continue to be a much-improved defensive team. Through its first seven games, Oregon is surrendering just 63.7 points per game, compared to 78.6 ppg at the same point a year ago.
A balanced attack. Through the first six games, the five starters are averaging between 9.6 and 12.6 points per game.
Look for senior guard Frederick Jones to make a major jump in the UO career scoring chart this weekend. He currently sits in the No. 19 spot, which he claimed in the win over Louisville. At 1,080 career points, he's two points shy of 18th, seven away from 17th and 10 out of 16th.
Continued contributions from the bench. In losses to UMass and Portland, the bench players struggled, scoring just three points against the Minutemen and 12 against the Pilots. The reserves got back on track with 26 points in the loss to Minnesota.
Jones moved into fourth in UO career steals during the Minnesota game and now has 99. He needs 15 more for third place.
Sophomore guard Luke Jackson is coming off a career-best effort in scoring with 28 points at Portland. But his best all-around game was his triple-double (14 pts, 11 reb, 10 ast) last year at Washington.
Senior center Chris Christoffersen recently notched 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).
JC transfer Robert Johnson is making a tremendous impact up front. Johnson has three 10-rebound games in his first seven outings as a Duck and leads the team at 8.4 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 moved into the UO career top five in blocked shots against Alabama State, and enters the Pepperdine game with 59, needing five more for fourth place.
Jones moves into sixth in UO career 3 FG with five more.
Jones moves into seventh in career assists with two 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 seven more 3 FG.
UNDER THE RADAR . . . Some things you might have overlooked in the first six games:
Coming off the bench, senior guard Anthony Lever is shooting 57.9 percent (11-of-19) from three-point range.
Oregon has out-rebounded all seven opponents this season. On average, the Ducks' edge is 39.9 to 30.1.
HEAD COACH ERNIE KENT . . . Ernie Kent (Oregon '77) is in his fifth year at Oregon. He has a 72-52 ledger with the Ducks and an 11-year career record of 162-132. 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 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).
KENT CLIMBS COACHING LADDER . . . With four wins this season, Ernie Kent has moved up to a tie for seventh in Oregon career coaching victories. With one more win, Kent will move past his predecessor, Jerry Green. Kent moved past Bill Borcher (70 wins) when Oregon defeated Long Beach State.
Coach (years) W L1. Howard Hobson (1936-47) 212 1242. W.J. Reinhart (1924-35) 180 1003. Steve Belko (1957-71) 179 2114. Don Monson (1984-92) 116 1455. Dick Harter (1972-78) 112 826. John Warren (1945-51) 87 767. Jerry Green (1993-97) 72 70 Ernie Kent (1998-02) 72 519. Bill Borcher (1952-56) 70 67
LUCKY SEVEN . . . Under Ernie Kent, Oregon is 18-14 in its last 32 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.
WHO CAN IT BE NOW? . . . It's been difficult to zero in on Oregon's top scorer. A different player led Oregon in scoring in five of the first six games, and then four players tied for high honors at Minnesota. 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. Then it was sophomore guard Luke Jackson's turn with a career-high 28 points at Portland. At Minnesota, it was Jones, Christoffersen, Ridnour and Davis all with 11 points.
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 redshirt 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.
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. Sometime this weekend, he should join the top seven in those four categories (needing only two assists for that to happen). 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 PEPPERDINE . . . Pepperdine joins Gonzaga as the two West Coast Conference teams who are making some serious noise regarding at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament by knocking off teams from 'power conferences.' Last week, the Waves completed a sweep of the Pac-10's L.A. schools, stunning both USC and UCLA on their home courts. Pepperdine attempts more than 22 threes per game. Junior forward Jimmy Miggins leads a balanced attack at 16.5 points per game, followed by freshman wing Terrance Johnson at 14.7 and Craig Lewis at 13.7. Lewis, a senior guard, is a native of Portland, as is junior forward Boomer Brazzle. Most recently, the Waves dropped a 68-51 decision at UC Santa Barbara. The Ducks and Pepperdine have one common opponent this season: Long Beach State. Oregon pounded the 49ers 97-67 in its last game at Mac Court, the Waves held off LBSU 93-83 Dec. 4 in Malibu.
TENTATIVE PEPPERDINE STARTERS
F 20 Terrance Johnson 6-5 185 Fr. 14.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.0 apgF 32 Jimmy Miggins 6-6 190 Jr. 16.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.2 apgC 55 Cedric Suitt 6-11 230 Sr. 3.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.1 bpgG 1 Devin Montgomery 6-0 180 Jr. 8.3 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 3.3 apgG 11 Craig Lewis 6-3 190 Sr. 13.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.2 spg
FATHERS AND SONS . . . Here's an interesting note regarding the Pepperdine game: Friday's contest will feature a pair of sons who are playing for their fathers. Oregon freshman Marcus Kent, who is redshirting this season, is the son of Duck head coach Ernie Kent. Pepperdine junior Mike Westphal is the son of new Waves head coach Paul Westphal.
ABOUT NORTHERN ARIZONA . . . Northern Arizona was picked to finish near the top of the Big Sky Conference and has proven it can succeed on the road with non-conference wins over Colgate, Northeastern and Lipscomb. The Lumberjacks had a four-game winning streak snapped Dec. 8 at Tennessee-Martin, 54-51, in their last outing. NAU's only other blemish was a 58-47 loss at Pittsburgh. Junior forward Ryan McDade is averaging 13.9 points per game, while senior forward Brian McHugh is just a shade back at 12.1 points per game. The Lumberjacks are shooting the ball at a .486 clip on the season, while holding the opposition to just 37.3 percent. NAU is allowing just 61.3 points per game. Sunday's contest reunites Canyon del Oro High School (Tucson, Ariz.) teammates McHugh and Oregon's Anthony Lever.
TENTATIVE NORTHERN ARIZONA STARTERS
F 31 Ryan McDade 6-7 235 Jr. 13.9 ppg, 7.4 rpgF 45 Kody Yazzie 6-3 191 So. 9.1 ppg, 3.4 rpgC 40 Brian McHugh 6-8 220 Sr. 12.1 ppg, 4.1 rpgG 4 Matt Gebhart 6-4 200 Sr. 9.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.0 apgG 13 Adam Lopez 6-0 165 Jr. 8.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 4.0 apg
LAST TIME VS. NORTHERN ARIZONA . . . Bryan Bracey scored five of his game-high 18 points in overtime, helping Oregon escape an upset against Northern Arizona, 72-70, Dec. 18, 2000, at Walkup Skydome. The Ducks squandered a 10-point lead in the second half before recovering for the overtime victory. Point guard Adam Lopez led the Lumberjacks with 15 points - eight in the final minute of regulation and overtime. A pair of free throws from Oregon guard Luke Ridnour gave the Ducks a 71-68 lead with 17 seconds left, and the Lumberjacks Cory Schwab misfired on NAUs last gasp, a 3-pointer with five seconds to play. Bracey then hit one of two free throws to ice the game for Oregon. The Ducks became just the fifth team to win at NAU's Walkup Skydome in the last five seasons. Anthony Lever scored 11 points for Oregon and Julius Hicks added 10 on 4-of-4 shooting. Frederick Jones' slashing layup with 1:45 left in overtime gave Oregon a 67-63 edge, but Lopez answered with a 3-pointer that just beat the shot clock to pull NAU back within one. With 22 seconds left, Lopez again pulled the game within one with a fading jumper, but the Lumberjacks never pulled ahead. Oregon shot a sizzling 57 percent from the field and every starter except Ridnour scored at least 10 points. Oregon broke out of a 29-all halftime tie with a 10-2 run in the first two minutes after the break, and the Ducks upped the lead to 48-38 on Hicks' layup at 13:35. Playing on eight days rest, Northern Arizona closed to within 56-55 with a 17-8 surge over the next eight minutes, capped by Schwab's 3-pointer with just under four minutes remaining. The Ducks limited NAU's Schwab - who came in leading the team at 22.3 points per game - to 12 points on 2-of-11 shooting from the field.
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. Jones had three steals against Minnesota to give him 99 and pass former teammate A.D. Smith (97/1995-00) for fourth. Jones is fifth in blocks with 59 for his career. He is four back of No. 4 Brett Coffey (59/1987-89). His 99 career three-point field goals are five behind No. 6 Alex Scales (104/1998-00). And his 277 career assists rank eighth, two 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 11 points against Minnesota to tally 1,080 career points (19th). He needs three points to pass No. 18 Mike Clark (1,082/1977-81), eight points to pass No. 17 Nick Jones (1,087/1964-67) and 11 to pass No. 16 Charlie Franklin (1,090/1955-58).
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 seven three-point field goals to reach the top 10.
75 YEARS AT MAC . . . Mac Court's 75th anniversary is just around the corner. Be sure to mark your calendars for the Jan. 15 game against Willamette. The game will celebrate the very first contest ever played at Mac Court, Jan. 14, 1927, when the 'Webfoots' met the Bearcats. Mac Court is now the oldest Division I facility in the United States, and players from every era will be recognized at halftime.
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.
PORTLAND RECAP . . . Coky Rochin hit 1-of-2 free throws with 12 seconds left to hand Portland a 79-78 victory over Oregon, Dec. 2 at the Chiles Center for Portland's first victory over Oregon since 1964. Adam Quick had a team-high 20 points, including a 3-pointer that tied the game at 78-78 with 12 seconds left. Sophomore forward Luke Jackson scored a career-high 28 points for Oregon, while point guard Luke Ridnour had 17 points and 7 assists. Rochin's winning free throw was set up when he intercepted a pass intended for Anthony Lever at the Ducks' foul line. Lever then fouled Rochin in an effort to prevent the turnover. Rochin had previously missed 3-of-6 attempts down the stretch. This time, he missed the first of two shots, but hit the second to put the Pilots ahead by one. The Ducks had a chance to win the game at the buzzer, but James Davis shot a leaning 3-pointer that bounced off the rim.
MINNESOTA RECAP . . . Freshman Rick Rickert had 28 points and nine rebounds to lead Minnesota to a 75-72 victory over Oregon Dec. 10 in Minneapolis. Rickert, a McDonald's All-American recruit from Duluth, was 11-for-17 from the field. He had 18 points in the second half, including a key dunk that capped a Gophers rally. Kerwin Fleming added 14 points for the Gophers, who snapped a two-game non-conference losing streak. James Davis, Luke Ridnour, Frederick Jones and Chris Christoffersen each scored 11 points for Oregon, which has lost three games by a combined eight points. The Ducks ran off eight straight points early in the second half to take a 42-35 lead, but the Gophers quickly rallied, tying the game at 46-46 on a 3-pointer by Rickert with 15:23 left. Ridnour scored five straight points to ignite a 12-3 run that put the Ducks ahead 58-49 with 10:56 left. Rickert again led the Gophers back, scoring five points in an 11-2 run, including a dunk off a baseline drive that gave the Gophers a 60-59 lead with 7:20 to play. Davis hit a 3-pointer to put the Ducks back in front, but Tavarus Bennett's three-point play with 3:13 left put the Gophers ahead to stay at 63-62. Rickert hit two free throws and Fleming went 3-for-4 from the line down the stretch. Minnesota scored the first 12 points of the game, with two baskets by Rickert sparking the run. Oregon's bench led the Ducks back into the game, and a driving leaner by Davis gave the Ducks a 34-33 halftime lead.