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Dante Leads Lethal Shooting Performance

Dec 9, 2020

EUGENE, Ore. — Sophomore post N'Faly Dante had a breakout game Wednesday night for the Oregon men's basketball team, scoring 22 points on a perfect 10-of-10 shooting to help the Ducks beat visiting Florida A&M, 87-66, in Matthew Knight Arena.

Dante, the 6-foot-11 former five-star recruit, more than doubled his previous career high of 11 points, all in just 18 minutes of action. Senior guard Chris Duarte led the Ducks with a season-high 23 points, making 10-of-14 shots.

As a team the Ducks were 38-of-63 shooting, 60.3 percent, using their ball movement to create high-percentage shots. Though Oregon struggled to a 6-of-23 performance from three-point range, the Ducks got to the rim effectively and finished.

"I thought we tried to share the ball more," UO coach Dana Altman said. "I haven't been too excited about some of our shots and our ball movement, but I thought tonight our guys really moved the ball."

How It Happened: Offensive fouls were an issue for the second game in a row, as Oregon was whistled for three in the first few minutes of the game. Those turnovers helped Florida A&M take an early lead, but Duarte put the Ducks ahead for a good with a three-pointer for a 16-14 lead.

Oregon then hit five straight field-goal attempts — two by Dante, two by Eugene Omoruyi and another Duarte three-pointer — to extend the lead to 27-19. Eric Williams Jr. scored on back-to-back possessions for a 35-22 lead and the teams traded baskets the rest of the first half, with the Ducks taking a 47-35 lead into halftime.

Dante already had a career-high 14 points at the break, and he scored on the opening possession of the second half. That began a 14-2 run by the Ducks coming out of halftime, with Duarte hitting yet another three-pointer and Williams flushing a dunk after stealing an inbounds pass.

The Rattlers finally made their first field goal of the second half at the 14:27 mark, sparking a 12-0 run that got them within 61-49. But Oregon found its footing again and pushed the lead back up to as many as 25 to close out the Ducks' third straight win.

Who Stood Out: Dante's 10-for-10 night was the best in Matthew Knight Arena history. The only player in UO history to have a perfect shooting performance with more attempts was Bryce Taylor, who went 11-of-11 against USC in the 2007 conference tournament.

"We've talked to him about being a presence and playing harder, and I thought he did tonight," Altman said. "He got some shots to fall early, guys were looking for him and I thought he did some good things."

Omoruyi added 13 points, and the Ducks were plus-22 on the scoreboard with him on the floor. Williams had 11 points and led Oregon with six rebounds.

What It Means: Omoruyi has been a revelation since debuting with the Ducks this season, but it was a welcome development to have other members of the team lead them in scoring Wednesday night. The more weapons, the better, as Oregon prepares to begin Pac-12 play.

Notable: The Ducks have used the same starting lineup in all four games to start this season. … Oregon's home win streak of 24 games is tied for the sixth-longest in the country. … Florida A&M is coached by former UO staff member Robert McCullum. … Sophomore Chandler Lawson hit the second three-pointer of his career in the first half.

Up Next: The Ducks open conference play at Washington on