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Hot Start Continues For Ducks

Nov 12, 2021

EUGENE, Ore. — The No. 13 Oregon men's basketball team buried Southern Methodist under an early avalanche of shots, and withering UO defense kept the Mustangs from digging themselves out in an 86-63 nonconference win for the Ducks on Friday at Matthew Knight Arena.

Oregon (2-0) made seven straight shots to open the game, racing out to a 23-6 lead. The Ducks ended up shooting 51.6 percent for the game, but the team was even happier about holding SMU to 37.7 percent shooting.

"As long as you can get stops, you're always in the game," junior transfer Rivaldo Soares said. "Coach, when he holds teams under 70, 60 points, they have a great track record. That's what we're trying to do. We know we have plenty of talent on the offensive and, and that'll come throughout the season."

How It Happened: Jacob Young scored Oregon's first six points of the game, and by the time Eric Williams Jr. hit a three-pointer after the first media timeout, all five UO starters had scored. That shot put the Ducks up 19-6, and Williams put home two second-chance points on the next possession.

A blocked shot by Quincy Guerrier led to a basket in transition for Will Richardson, giving Oregon a 32-13 lead. Back-to-back second-chance baskets by Guerrier and Franck Kepnang pushed the lead to 36-16, and though SMU closed within 40-28, Richardson scored eight points late in the first half to give Oregon a 50-35 lead at the break.

"We popped them pretty good there early," UO coach Dana Altman said. "If we could have hit some free throws" — the Ducks were 5-of-12 in the first half — "we would have jumped them real good."

Oregon started fast again in the second half, scoring the first eight points including threes by Guerrier and Richardson. Soares hit a leaner for a 70-46 lead, and though the Ducks made just two of their next 15 shots, tough defense kept SMU from cutting into the lead significantly. A dunk by Williams and a layup by Young got the UO advantage up to 84-59, the largest lead of the night.

Who Stood Out: Williams led the Ducks with 19 points and added five rebounds with three assists. Richardson and Young scored 18 apiece, and Soares had 10 points with seven rebounds. Guerrier added nine points with six rebounds, and Kepnang had seven points and six boards.

"We basically played seven guys," Altman said. "I sure, especially early in the season, would like to get that to nine or 10."

What It Means: The Ducks are off to a 2-0 start, having jumped out to comfortable leads in the opening minutes of each victory.

"Coach is doing a good job staying on us, making sure we're prepared for any game, making sure we don't take our opponents lightly," Soares said. "Texas Southern and SMU are two good teams."

Up Next: The Ducks host BYU in the Phil Knight Invitational at the Moda Center in Portland on Tuesday (7 p.m., ESPN).