EUGENE, Ore. — Growing pains are nothing new for the oldest veteran on Oregon’s roster, who may have finally found his comfort zone.
After missing most of the Ducks’ run to the Elite Eight last season because of a foot injury, sixth-year senior Dylan Ennis, a graduate transfer from Villanova, is still getting acclimated to his teammates.
Ennis scored 18 points and No. 23 Oregon rallied for a 68-63 victory over Boise State on Monday night.
Tyler Dorsey added 17 points for the Ducks (5-2), who came back from 14 down in the first half to win their 28th consecutive home game.
A 3-pointer by Ennis with 3:30 to play put Oregon ahead for the first time since early in the game.
“He probably played as well as anybody we had,” coach Dana Altman said.
Ennis also made nine of 10 free throws and had six rebounds in his best all-around game with the Ducks, but he was particularly pleased with his lone 3 when Oregon needed it most.
“That was one that was in rhythm and it just went down,” Ennis said. “I haven’t played with these guys at all. We’re still meshing in and we’re going to get it.
“Last year we had a few growing pains and at the end of the year we got it right, and that can happen this year as well.”
After Dorsey’s free throw gave Oregon a 66-63 lead, the Broncos (3-3) had a chance for a tying shot, but Paris Austin lost possession on a baseline drive with 5 seconds left. Dillon Brooks sealed the win with two free throws.
Brooks, a preseason All-America selection, had five points and shot 1 of 9 in 21 minutes off the bench in his fourth game back from offseason foot surgery.
“He had a bad game,” Altman said. “He was trying too hard, going way too fast.”
Austin led Boise State with 16 points. Nick Duncan added 15 on five of the Broncos’ 11 3-pointers.
Altman thought his team was lucky to come back after Boise State built its big lead from beyond the arc.
“When a team hits more than 10 3s, you’re fortunate to win playing as poorly as we did,” he said.
The Ducks finished with 10 blocks and a 39-32 rebounding edge. Chris Boucher led the way with five blocks and eight rebounds.
Boise State: The Broncos missed a shot at their fourth road win against a Top 25 opponent and third under seventh-year coach Leon Rice. Boise State beat unranked Oregon 74-72 last year in Boise.
Oregon: The Ducks won’t leave the state for their next eight games to finish 2016, capped by visits from No. 11 UCLA and USC in late December to start Pac-12 play.
Oregon, which has dropped 19 spots since reaching a school-best AP ranking of No. 4 two weeks ago, should bounce back in the poll with six more games against unranked teams to finish its nonconference schedule.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Boise State had nine steals to Oregon’s three, a 15-9 edge in second-chance points and played the Ducks even on points in the paint at 20-20 – all of which left Altman shaking his head. “We got beat in every category,” he said.
Junior point guard Casey Benson, who is adapting to coming off the bench after starting the first four games and leading the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio last season, hit consecutive 3-pointers in the second half that helped spark Oregon’s comeback. “Those were two big shots,” Altman said. “We were stuck in the mud and couldn’t get anything going.”
Boise State hosts SMU on Wednesday night before traveling to play Evansville as part of the Mountain West/Missouri Valley Challenge on Saturday.
Oregon hosts Western Oregon, which reached the NCAA Division II Final Four last year, on Wednesday night and then Savannah State on Saturday to continue a five-game homestand.