Oregon head coach Dana Altman admitted that he thought his team would be further along than what they demonstrated in their first game of the season in an 83-73 win over Northern Arizona Saturday afternoon at Matthew Knight Arena. Led by four players in double figures, the Ducks outscored the Lumberjacks 42-24 in the paint and made 22-of-32 free throws compared to Northern Arizona's 5-for-10 performance from the charity stripe. Senior center Tony Woods was a big reason the Ducks were able hold a physical advantage and dominate the paint against the Lumberjacks, as his 14 points and seven rebounds helped buoy the Ducks when Northern Arizona was threatening late in the second half.
Woods was one point off his career-high scoring, notching 14 points and seven rebounds in Oregon's 83-73 win over Northern Arizona.
"My offense has come a long way," said Woods, who was one point off his career-high and who exhibited improved touch around the basket. "It's never really been a big part of my game to contribute offensively, but since the end of last season, my offense has just continued to develop and I'm just feeling more comfortable."
Things inside Matt Knight Arena got a little uncomfortable as Northern Arizona took a 67-66 lead with 5:22 left in the game when NAU's Blake Hamilton hit a three -- his only field goal -- to give the Lumberjacks their first lead of the contest. Oregon responded with a 13-0 run to put the game on ice, but Woods said there was a hint of nervousness in the huddle as Northern Arizona seemed to be gaining momentum.
"Honestly, I was worried," Woods revealed. "I'm sure we were all worried. Any time a team on the road gets a run like that, it gives them confidence and that can be a bad thing for us because once they get that roll going, it's hard to stop them.
"Fortunately, we were able to put together some boards and some stops and execute our offense."
Altman shared the same relief as Woods, stating that he was happy to his young team fight back and find a way to win, however with teams such as Vanderbilt and No. 18 UNLV coming up on the schedule the over the next two weeks, the Oregon headman was brutally honest in assessing the progress his team must make to have a chance moving forward.
"We've got tremendous work to do in every phase of the game," said Altman. "I thought we would play better today and I thought we were better prepared, but we just never got the ball moving and took a lot of bad shots. We didn't run the floor like I hoped and we just didn't play as well defensively.
"It's the opening game, but we've got a tremendous amount of work to do in a very short time."
The Ducks hope to make significant strides and come through with a cleaner performance this upcoming Monday against the Portland State Vikings. Tip-off from Matthew Knight Arena is set for 6:30 p.m. and the game can be seen live on the Pac-12 Networks.
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