Oregon’s struggles continue in loss at Oregon State

1 Comment

Having lost three straight Pac-12 games after squeaking past Utah in their league opener, the Oregon Ducks needed to get back on track against rival Oregon State on Sunday night. Struggling defensively, the general assumption regarding Dana Altman’s team is that if they could improve on that end of the floor they’d have enough offensive firepower to ensure a turnaround.

Unfortunately for Oregon they struggled offensively, shooting 38% from the field and 4-for-19 from beyond the arc in Corvallis. The end result: an 80-72 loss to their in-state rival, falling to 1-4 in Pac-12 play as a result. Oregon State did shoot 7-for-13 from three and 27-for-31 from the foul line, but they also turned the ball over 20 times and as a result provided Oregon with multiple opportunities to grab control of the contest.

Oregon was unable to take advantage of those chances, and the production of their starters factored into that. The starting five shot just 7-for-35 from the field, with Mike Moser shooting 3-for-15. Some credit, especially when it came to Oregon’s finishing at the basket, should be given to an Oregon State defense that blocked nine shots. However this was more about Oregon, and their struggles resulted in a 16-point hole with just over eight minutes remaining in the half.

The Oregon bench scored 47 points with Jason Calliste (17 points) and Richard Amardi (13 points, six rebounds) providing some much-needed energy, but it wasn’t enough in the end.

Oregon’s struggled defensively in Pac-12 play but Sunday night was more about the offense, with three-point shooting, production from the starters and a poor assist count being the biggest issues. Just six of Oregon’s 25 made field goals were assists; by comparison Oregon State assisted on 19 of its 23 made field goals. Given the number of capable scorers in Oregon’s rotation that shouldn’t happen.

Oregon State picked up a valuable win, with Roberto Nelson scoring 22 points and Eric Moreland (15 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and three blocks) filling the stat sheet. Craig Robinson’s team certainly deserves credit for the result, but this is a concerning defeat for Oregon on two fronts.

There’s the obvious “quality of play” issue for Oregon, but they’ve also got a resume that doesn’t look as good as it did a month ago. Those wins over Georgetown and Illinois have lost their luster, meaning that the Ducks’ best wins came against BYU and Ole Miss. With a number of teams sporting meager resumes at this point in time, this won’t be a killer if Oregon can get its act together.

But can they get their act together? At this point that’s anyone’s guess.

Louisville backcourt struggles in first scrimmage

Quentin Snider, Jerian Grant
Associated Press
Leave a comment

While a few teams did manage to hold special events for the official start of practice this weekend, most simply went about their business with drills and conditioning. One team that was the exception to all of this was Louisville, which held the first of its two intersquad scrimmages on Saturday. The Cardinals had a head start of sorts on the season, as they played six exhibition games in Puerto Rico this summer.

One hope heading into Saturday’s scrimmage was that guards Trey Lewis and Quentin Snider would have better chemistry than they did in Puerto Rico. But according to Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal, that remains a work in progress for the Cleveland State transfer (Lewis) and rising sophomore (Snider).

They struggled in Puerto Rico, and they struggled again in Saturday’s Red-White scrimmage, the first public intrasquad practice since August. They played one half of the game together, paired with the presumed starting lineup with Mangok Mathiang out with an eye injury, a group that also included Damion Lee, Jaylen Johnson and Chinanu Onuaku.

That team lost the first half by 13 points to a younger group of Louisville players, and Lewis and Snider combined for eight points on 3-of-12 shooting, five turnovers, five steals, four assists and three rebounds.

“I thought (Snider) and (Lewis) did not play well together,” U of L coach Rick Pitino said. “They’ve got to get used to that. Neither guy made other guys better. That’s what they need to learn to do.”

As Greer also noted in his story the Cardinals have in recent years employed backcourt tandems in which both guards are capable of making plays for themselves and others. On the 2013 national champion team Peyton Siva and Russ Smith led the way, with Smith being joined by Terry Rozier or Chris Jones the following season and Rozier/Jones being the grouping last season before the latter was dismissed from the team.

Once Jones was dismissed Snider saw more time on the court, and his development was one of the keys for a Louisville team that fell one win short of the Final Four. Louisville needs him to take another step forward heading into the 2015-16 season, because even with Lewis’ experience at the Division I level Snider has more experience playing in Pitino’s system.

But while Saturday’s scrimmage didn’t go as well as anyone involved hoped, there’s still plenty of time for Louisville to work out the kinks before they open the season November 13 against Samford.

Knee injury sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
Associated Press
Leave a comment

With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.