Ducks: Full Court Press Can Turn the Tide
Oregon Ducks (19-5, 8-3) at Washington Huskies (13-11, 5-6)
Tipoff: 8:05 PM
The departure of Dominic Artis initially left the Ducks a fractured force, but tonight, we may see the glue starting to stick; this Oregon team is putting itself together again.
Do the Ducks have their swagger back? We shall see. Here are a few things they need to carry over from Saturday's game to find success:
1. Kazemi's Fire
Arsalan's emotional half-time speech on Saturday and subsequent powerhouse performance sparked the Ducks to take over the game in the second half against Utah. An athlete of few words, he finally spoke up and let his team know what was important to him. More of that please.
2. Damyean Dotson's Return to Form
After struggling in the wake of Artis' departure, Dotson played with more purpose against Utah, with 16 points and 4 rebounds.
"He took some really good shots that went in, " Altman said Saturday night. "When's he's aggressive his percentages go up. I'd like to see him play more aggressively. We need a play maker."
3. More of the Same: Big Defensive Effort/Hustle by John Loyd
“Defensively he's made us a better team, we've guarded our tails off since Artis has been out,” said Altman.
Now if he could just get out of that shooting funk....
“He's got to pick out shots he likes. I don't want him taking shots 'cause he feels like he's got to generate offense for us, because he doesn't ," said Altman. "I told him when he gets a shot he likes, take it.”
4. Mixing it Up with the Full Court Press
“I think it really turned that game against Utah. It got them out of the way they wanted to run their offense,” said EJ Singler.
John Loyd agreed, saying “Teams have been trying to slow us down so I think we'll go back to it more. In the beginning it was tougher but now we are more comfortable with it.”
As for the Huskies?
They've been swimming in a sea of frustration, coming off back to back losses on their road trip to Los Angeles. 14 turnovers gave USC 20 points in Sunday night's loss, not to mention a 4-14 free throw performance that left Husky fans shaking their heads, not to mention Coach Lorezno Romar.
“Oh, yeah, it's frustrating,” he told the Seattle media after his team turned the ball over on each of their last four possessions, “ I wasn't expecting that.”
UW has come out flat on offense in the early part of their games, perhaps due to lead scorer CJ Wilcox playing through early signs of a stress fracture in his left foot. Averaging over 18 points per game, he had just 8 Sunday night.
The biggest threat posed by the Huskies is Azziz N'Dyiaye, averaging double-doubles in the past eleven games with no signs of slowing down. He currently leads the conference in field goal percentage at .630.
University of Oregon Athletics
The 23rd-ranked Oregon Ducks (19-5, 8-3) sit on top of the Pac-12 standings by virtue of their wins over Arizona and UCLA earlier in the season.
The Ducks beat the Huskies (13-11, 5-6), 81-76, in the first meeting between the two schools this season on Jan. 26 in Eugene. Three players scored in double figures for Oregon that night including senior E.J. Singler, who led all scorers with 18 points. In addition, Arsalan Kazemi recorded a double-double (11 pts, 11 rebs) and Carlos Emory tallied 11 points in the win. Five players scored in double digits for Washington. Oregon shot an outstanding 57.8 percent from the field.
Despite losing the first game of the season to the Ducks, the Huskies still hold a healthy 187-106 advantage in the all-time series. Washington’s last victory over Oregon came in last year’s NIT Quarterfinals, a 90-86 decision in Seattle. The Huskies enter the contest in ninth place in the Pac-12 Conference standings.