Tag: Dana Altman

Oregon forward Dillon Brooks (24) drives past Arizona forward Ryan Anderson during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

No. 23 Oregon ends No. 18 Arizona’s 49-game home win streak

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Arriving in Tucson tied for first in the Pac-12, No. 23 Oregon had an opportunity to not only end No. 18 Arizona’s 49-game home win streak but also add another quality win to their résumé. Mission accomplished, as the Ducks rebounded from a slow start to beat the Wildcats 83-75.

What a difference a year makes for the Oregon program, which was blown out at McKale by 34 points last January in the second of three double-digit losses to the eventual Pac-12 champions.

Arizona made 12 of its first 13 shots on the night and looked poised to run away with the game, but their issues with turnovers and defending the Ducks off the bounce caught up to Sean Miller’s team. Arizona turned the ball over ten times in the first half, a big reason why Oregon was able to trim the deficit to three by the intermission. Overall the Wildcats turned the ball over 19 times, with Oregon converting those mistakes into 21 points on the other end of the floor.

Instead of building a solid working margin that one would expect for a team that shot nearly 73 percent from the field, Arizona found itself in a dogfight. And as the turnovers mounted for Arizona so did the paint points given up on the other end, as Oregon outscored the Wildcats 44-26 in the paint. Oregon was able to spread out Arizona and find quality looks around the basket, with many of those opportunities coming by way of dribble penetration.

Dillon Brooks, who poses a matchup problem for many teams as a undersized four, led five Ducks in double figures with 24 points and 22 of Oregon’s 32 made field goals came in the paint. Overall Oregon’s offensive versatility allows them to use multiple players at a variety of positions, making them an incredibly difficult team to defend. And as was the case in Arizona’s loss at USC, this proved to be something Sean Miller’s team could not find the right answers for.

Arizona doesn’t defend at the level that their last three teams did, and without a consistently steady hand at the point they’ve proven to be more turnover prone as well. That combination won’t work if they’re to win another Pac-12 title.

Arizona shot better than 61 percent from the field but their margin for error is slim, as evidenced by how they lost Thursday night. The Wildcats left the door open with some shoddy ball-handling, and Oregon proved more than capable of taking advantage. In ending the nation’s longest home win streak, Oregon strengthened its standing within the Pac-12 while also exorcising some demons from last season.

Elgin Cook, Oregon take care of No. 21 USC

Southern California's Katin Reinhardt, left, has his shot blocked by Oregon's Chris Boucher during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)
AP Photo/Chris Pietsch
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Entering Thursday road teams had a record of 10-22 in Pac-12 play this season, so it goes without saying that even with the balance getting wins away from home has been very difficult. That trend continued in Eugene, as No. 21 USC played its first game as a ranked team since the 2008-09 season and lost 89-81 at Oregon.

For the Trojans this game was another step in the growth process Andy Enfield’s program is still going through, even with their hot start to conference play. Picking up wins as a surprise team is much different than doing so as a team with a target on its back, and against Oregon the Trojans were unable to string together the stops needed to make a run in the second half.

Oregon, which may not have the depth it envisioned before the season began thanks to the loss of Dylan Ennis for the remainder of the season, still has a host of options capable of putting points on the board. Elgin Cook, one of the Pac-12’s most versatile players, proved especially difficult to slow down as he accounted for 26 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field and 9-for-12 from the foul line.

The senior forward led four Ducks in double figures, and against the USC defense Oregon was able to get into the paint on numerous occasions throughout (43 points in the paint).

The defense will likely be the biggest takeaway from this defeat for USC, which entered the game as one of the conference’s better defensive units to this point in conference play. Even with Bennie Boatwright going for 23 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out and Julian Jacobs adding 18 and five assists, the Trojans showed their youth down the stretch with some questionable decision-making (Jacobs’ technical foul hurt as well).

They’ll get better, and in time USC will have the experience necessary to win games of this magnitude on the road. If anything this result says more about an Oregon team that finally has its rotation set in stone. Dana Altman has a host of options to call upon on the perimeter and in the post, and the presence of interchangeable pieces such as Cook and Dwayne Benjamin makes this group appear deeper than the number of bodies would lead one to believe.

In a conference race that’s wide open now and will likely be throughout the remainder of the season, Oregon strengthened its case as a Pac-12 contender while also bringing USC back to the pack.

Broken foot ends season for Oregon’s Dylan Ennis

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After playing in just two games following his transfer from Villanova, Oregon guard Dylan Ennis’ 2015-16 season has come to an end.

Wednesday evening, shortly before the Ducks’ home game against California, the program announced that Ennis will miss the remainder of the season with a broken left foot. Ennis, who was expected to be a major addition for Dana Altman’s team after making the move from the Big East to the Pac-12, missed Oregon’s first 12 games of the season with a foot injury before returning in late December.

Ennis played a total of 21 minutes in games against Western Oregon and Oregon State, and his ability to both distribute the basketball and score as a primary ball-handler was expected to make the Ducks even tougher for opponents to defend. According to the school Ennis aggravated the original injury in the loss at Oregon State Sunday night, leading to the announcement that he’s done for the year.

Moving forward Oregon will have to rely on sophomore Casey Benson as its starting point guard, with players such as freshman Tyler Dorsey and sophomore Kendall Small (who’s averaging just over 11 minutes per game) needing to be ready to step forward as well. Benson has 43 assists and just eight turnovers on the season, but he isn’t the caliber of scorer at the point that Ennis was expected to be for this team.

Oregon was hit hard by injuries from the start of the season, but with Ennis’ return it appeared as if the Ducks were ready to turn the corner in regards to their health. Now that he’s been ruled out, Oregon will once again have to adjust.

h/t Duck Territory