In Oregon's 74-48 win over Vanderbilt Friday night at Matthew Knight Arena, the simplicity of the Ducks' dismantling of the Commodores was something to behold. Whether it was on defense (holding Vanderbilt to 34 percent shooting), on the glass (outrebounding the Commodores 35-29), or points coming off the bench (outscoring Vandy 25-3), Oregon was clinical and efficient for a young team in undoubtedly their biggest win of the young season. Led by senior forward E.J. Singler's 22 points, six assists, and five rebounds, the Ducks never trailed against Vanderbilt, leading by as many as 30 points with 4:15 left in the second half.
Singler had 22 points, six assists, and five rebounds to lead the Ducks over Vanderbilt Friday.
"I think the crowd really sparked us today," said Singler of the 9,137 in attendance. "We got a lot of energy from the students and the fans and I think we just took that and kind of ran with it. We knew how big of a game this was for us as a collective unit -- a test to kind of measure where we're at -- and I think we came out and really showed a good team effort."
After contributing a mere six points in a win versus Portland State on Monday, Singler seemed to return to form Friday having struggled through a nagging knee injury that cost him the majority of preseason camp. Oregon head coach Dana Altman said that he still doesn't believe Singler's conditioning is where it needs to be after being hampered with the injury, though admitted that once he completely rounds in to form, him and recently cleared Rice transfer, Arsalan Kazemi, will be a potent tandem.
"When you take six weeks off and you base your game on playing hard and being in great shape, it's going to take awhile [to get back to normal]," said Altman. "But I think when he and Arsalan get in to great shape, that'll be a 1-2 punch there with a lot of experience and that will be pretty good for us."
Speaking of Kazemi, the native Iranian made his Oregon debut tonight after his appeal to play immediately after transferring from Rice University was upheld by the NCAA on Thursday. In his first game as a Duck, Kazemi chipped in five points and led Oregon in rebounding with seven. More than that, Kazemi's activity on the defensive end and his energy chasing after loose balls served as a major boost for a team looking to remain undefeated before embarking on their first road trip of the season next week.
"He's a great player," said Singler of Kazemi. "He really helped us on the boards. I don't know how many he had, but you could tell he really helped us. He just understands the game of basketball...He's a good one to have on our team and I can't wait till he can get a couple games under his belt and gets used to everyone and the system."
Altman was also quite pleased with what he saw out of Kazemi in his first game. Forced to overcome a groin injury he suffered on the first day of preseason camp, Altman commended Kazemi for battling through his own injury issues while dealing with the uncertainty surrounding his eligibility.
"We're going to have to play him in to shape a little bit here, we got three games next week," said Altman. "But I think he can really change the game for us.
"We just want Arsalan to play hard and if he does that, he going to be a big part of our team. He's gifted, he's physical, and he's got experience...I think he's going to be an awfully good player for us."
The Ducks return to action next Monday when they take on the Jacksonville State Gamecocks at Matthew Knight Arena. Tip-off is set 8:00 p.m. Pacific and can be seen live on the Pac-12 Network.
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