Ducks Rediscover Offense At Home
EUGENE, Ore. — A two-week offensive slump ended emphatically for the Oregon men's basketball team Monday, as the Ducks made 12 straight shots at one point in the first half and shot 66 percent for the game in an 87-47 win over Montana in Matthew Knight Arena.
After two misses on their opening possession, the Ducks made 12 straight field-goal attempts to open up an early 34-17 lead. An 11-0 run just after halftime made it 60-29 as Oregon shook off a slump that saw them fail to shoot even 40 percent in each of their three losses over the previous two weeks.
"It's been a long two weeks," UO coach Dana Altman said. "The guys really struggled through it, and it hasn't been easy on us. So it was good to get some energy, make some shots. The ball movement was much better tonight."
How It Happened: The night began ignominiously, with Will Richardson seeing a three-pointer rim out and Eric Williams Jr. missing a second-chance attempt. But Richardson hit a midrange jumper 81 seconds into the game and the Ducks went the next five minutes without an empty possession, a run that included two three-pointers from Richardson as Oregon opened up a 16-10 lead.
A turnover ended the string of fruitful possessions but not the Ducks' hot streak. Jacob Young completed consecutive three-point plays for a 22-10 lead, and Richardson and De'Vion Harmon hit back-to-back threes to cap the streak of UO makes at 12. Harmon hit another three just before halftime for a 44-33 lead, and Isaac Johnson scored the last basket of the half to make it 46-24.
"We just needed it as a confidence builder," Young said. "We had a bad last week. We just had to bounce back and find ourselves a little bit. We had a bad few games, but I feel like everyone's bought in now and we're going to make a turnaround."
It was 49-29 early in the second half when the Ducks got hot again. Young scored in transition to spark an 11-0 run that included a follow dunk by N'Faly Dante, a dunk in transition by Young and another basket by Dante.
.@Jybackk creating his own offense!
Ducks up 60-29.
— Oregon Men's Basketball (@OregonMBB) November 30, 2021
The latter stages of the game included some encouraging minutes from Nate Bittle, who had five rebounds and two blocked shots in 10 minutes, and from Lök Wur, who made Oregon's last three-point attempt of the game as the Ducks finished 9-of-17 from three on the night.
This sequence is just ????
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) November 30, 2021
Who Stood Out: Richardson scored 18 points, matching his combined total from Oregon's three losses, to BYU, Saint Mary's and Houston. Harmon added 14 points with two steals, Dante had 11 points with seven rebounds and Young added 10 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists. Williams matched Dante with a team-high seven rebounds and also led the Ducks with four assists.
What It Means: Time will tell, but the Ducks sounded postgame like a team ready to turn things around.
"I thought we took a step in the right direction," Altman said. "We've still got a long ways to go; we still are not a good basketball team. But it was a step in the right direction."
Notable: The Ducks enjoyed their most accurate night shooting the ball since making 70 percent of their field-goal attempts against Boise State on Nov. 9, 2019. The only other night in the Altman era when Oregon shot better than Monday was a 69.4 percent performance against Washington State on Dec. 29, 2011. … Oregon's 40-point margin of victory was the program's largest since a 114-56 win over Alabama State on Nov. 17, 2017. … Young's four steals were one off his career high, and his fifth career game with four or more. … Young's career high of five steals was set when he was playing for Rutgers on Jan. 8, 2020, against Syracuse — and against his future UO teammate Quincy Guerrier.
Up Next: The Ducks host UC Riverside in Matthew Knight Arena on Wednesday (7 p.m., Pac-12 Network).