OREGON USES SECOND HALF DEFENSE TO FEND OFF A TOUGH SAN DIEGO SQUAD 65-55 – Bol Bol Leads the way with 20 Points and 9 Rebounds
Matthew Knight Arena
It wasn’t the start Dana Altman wanted to see against San Diego.
The Ducks ( 6-3 ) began Wednesday’s game as if they just woke up from a long nap allowing the Toreros ( 9-3 ) to jump out to a 29-20 first half lead when guard Olin Carter III drilled a three pointer at the 4:31 mark.
Once again the Ducks looked like they were headed to a disappointing loss against a team certainly with less talent.
The tide turned though in the second half as the Ducks came into the final 20 minutes seemingly re-energized eventually pulling away from San Diego winning 65-55 in front of 7,191 at Matthew Knight Arena.
From the outset, the Ducks looked sluggish and uninterested in the Toreros who came into the game looking for their ninth win in 11 games to give them their best start in program history.
San Diego, led by Carter’s 10 first half points, had the Ducks out of sync on both ends of the floor including defensively by moving the ball with speed and precision around the perimeter as well as inside with little to no challenge.
After their 9 point deficit, the Ducks went on an 11-3 run over the next three minutes to go into halftime down by just one point at 32-31 led by Bol Bol with 8 first half points including two key shots from downtown.
“The biggest change was rebounding” said Oregon head coach Dana Altman after the game when asked what changed in the second half.
“We were down 7 ( rebounds ) at half and actually out rebounded them by 11 in the second half,…that was a big factor. Bol’s activity blocking shots really gave us a big lift. Just getting a little bit more aggressive defensively,…active hands….I think we had 50 deflections tonight which was a high for us.”
The change began late in the first half when senior guard Ehab Amin came off the bench and gave the Ducks a much needed boost grabbing 3 steals and scoring 5 points.
“In the first half, he did a good thing” explained Altman when asked about Amin.
“His energy there was really good. I thought he gave us a big lift. He had four steals,…three in the first half. His energy,…that’s a big part of any basketball game…it’s the energy,…the leadership that that energy gives you.”
Along with Amin’s 4 steals, Will Richardson contributed 3. The Ducks ended the game with 10 takeaway’s – the most in a game this season.
Bol Bol was once again the key contributor,…both from inside and outside.
Bol ended his night with 20 points hitting 9 of 13 shots including 2 of 3 from distance. Bol also led the Ducks on the glass with 9 rebounds.
He’s obviously a very talented young man” said Altman when asked about Bol’s night and the improvement he’s made as the season’s gone along.
“His touch has always been pretty good but he’s getting stronger. He doesn’t rush things like he used to a little bit. I think as he continues to get older and stronger those moves will be even better.”
While the Ducks eventually grabbed the lead in the second half and won the game, Altman still insists there’s a long way for this team to go and its success will be determined over these next two weeks before conference play begins.
“Well the biggest thing is the boards” explained Altman.
“When we haven’t been successful we haven’t rebounded – we haven’t had physicality on the boards,…that’s the first thing. The second thing is our activity defensively,…no matter what we’re in,…man,..zone,…our presses,…our activity has to increase. Team rebounding, team defense by far 1 and 2.”
While the Ducks defense allowed the Toreros to shoot 49% in the first half, they clamped down in the second half and only allowed them to hit 9 of 26 ( 34% ) in the second half.
For the game, San Diego converted 20 of 49 shots shooting 41%.
Behind Bol’s 20 points, Duck guard Payton Pritchard added 12 while Kenny Wooten contributed 8.
“It was a good win for us, no doubt,” said Altman.
“We’ve gotta finish the non-conference strong. We’ve taken our lumps here in November and early December, and we’ve got to get better and finish the month strong.”
Up next for the Ducks, they’ll host Boise State on Saturday at 6:00 pm.
At halftime the Ducks hosted a “Teddy Bear Toss” to benefit Toys For Tots. Members of the United States Marine Corps Reserves, who organize the program, were on hand and collected 375 teddy bears donated by Oregon fans in attendance by throwing them from the stands onto the court at halftime.
Bol Bol has now scored in double figures in the first nine games in his Oregon career. … By shooting 40.8 percent, San Diego became just the third UO opponent this season to exceed 40 percent.
DANA ALTMAN POST GAME