By Max Williams
Ducks fans haven’t had very high hopes for this season’s basketball team after two disappointing season’s and then an offseason where the head coach was fired and many players transferred. However, the Ducks basketball team started out the season the best they possibly could and are now sitting at 3-0 after winning 3 close games. The Ducks fell trailed in all three games at halftime but came out and played a second half that would make Chip Kelly proud.
The Ducks were lead by Senior Joevan Catron who was the leading scorer for the Ducks in all three games this weekend, scoring 27, 20, and 15. Catron played tough throughout the tournament and came up big in the clutch moments of each game. It seemed Oregon’s strategy was often to get Catron the ball down low and he would fight for a basket and/or a foul, taking a lot of contact either way.
Other big contributions came from EJ Singler and Teondre Wiliams who both averaged double figures. Singler appeared to be maybe the most talented player on the floor, shooting 52% on FG’s, 60% on 3pt FG’s, shooting 100% from the line, and also leading the team with 6.3 rebounds a game. Williams’ shooting seems to have improved some as he was 5-9 on three pointers, including 3 big ones in the second half of the game against UCSB which helped Oregon rally back from a deficit. Williams also won the opening tip of the UCSB game against UCSB’s 7’3” center (who is 11 inches taller than him).
Oregon also got big contributions from a couple newcomers off the bench. Tyrone Nared had a major hotstreak which pulled the Ducks back into the game as it looked like UCSB was taking over. Nared proved to be a decent shooter as well as a presence on defense as he also came up with some big blocks and rebounds in the tournament. John Loyd also drew comparisons to Aaron Brooks as he displayed an amazing quickness. Although Loyd has yet to really find his shot, he distributes the ball well and hustles all game.
Loyd made the play of the tournament in the UCSB game, on a ball that was thrown way up into the air by a Duck who managed to save it from going out of bounds. Another player then went up against 2 taller gauchos and managed to just tip it a little. From there, Loyd came in sprinting and stole the ball away, then used his momentum to take it all the way for an easy layup.
Plays like this displayed the hustle and heart that the Ducks played with all weekend under their new coach Dana Altman. The Ducks consistently played hard, with a comeback in overtime, a great defensive stand when they needed it, and out-rebounding a team much taller than them. If the Ducks can continue play this way, maybe they can make something out of this season that was destined to be a disappointing one.
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