Photo by Allan Johnstone
Oregon Basketball

Is Oregon Basketball Clicking?

January 12, 2018

Last night the Ducks upset #11 Arizona State in Tempe 76-72. Overall I was impressed by the teams ability to comeback and play some quality basketball. Here are my biggest factors from last nights game and how Oregon got the W.

Foul Trouble

The Ducks have to stop fouling, especially so early in the game. By the time I finally got the game up last night Troy Brown was already on the bench with two fouls! And that was only in the first three minutes of the game! Troy Brown has been a high scorer for the Ducks in conference play, averaging almost 15 points, so having him sidelined to the bench so early on was a killer for the Ducks. He only played 24 minutes and went 1-5 on the night scoring only 2 points. Troy Brown wasn't the only frequent offender last night, Wooten also had 4 and both White and McIntosh had 3. No referees are great and some of those calls towards the end of the night were questionable but for most of the night the Ducks made it to easy for the referees to call fouls. If the Ducks want to beat Arizona at Arizona they are going to need Brown and Wooten to play smarter.

Ball Movement

Ball movement is one of the biggest components of Dana Altman's offense and before last night the Ducks were not been buying into it. Last night was a testament to how successful this team could be if they move the ball around like Altman wants them too. For the first fifteen minutes I was getting nervous because the Ducks were doing what they had been doing before in the season, not passing the ball well, and settling for contested jump shots. But then everything changed, I don't know what Altman said to the team in those last five minutes of the first half but it was like a new team was on the floor. They were passing the ball on offense finding the open man and on defense they were playing tough and smart. And it worked, they were able to close what had been a fifteen point deficit and go into halftime tied at 41. Then during the second half they came out strong and continued passing the ball around making it so Arizona State couldn't get the lead back.

Roman Sorkin

Last night was a great night for Roman Sorkin, arguably the best of his Oregon career. His stat sheet will show his performance against Coppin State as his best statistical game but last night against Arizona State he rose to the challenge and played one hell of a game against a strong team. Sorkin was firing on all cylinders grabbing rebounds on both ends of the court as well as stretching the floor on offense. I would still love to see more consistency out of the big man but his performance yesterday helped secure the Ducks big win against the Sun Devils.

Elijah Brown

Love him or hate him Elijah Brown was another big factor in why the Ducks got the win last night with two clutch free throws at the end of the game. So far this season Brown has had trouble fitting into Altman's team, but last night he started to click. He was moving the ball better than in previous games and because of that he was able to get better shots off leading to a team high 18 points. I'm still not convinced that Brown's style of play is what Altman and the Ducks need but if last night was any indication I think there is a chance he can be a useful member of the team.

3 Keys to the Upset in Tuscon, AZ

1. Kenny Wooten and Troy Brown stay out of foul trouble. If the Ducks are going to beat Arizona they are going to need Troy Brown' to play smart and that means no stupid fouls. They are also going to need Wooten to play  smart because he is the biggest part of the plan to contain Deandre Ayton.

2. Get Deandre Ayton in foul trouble early. Right now he is averaging just over two a game so the more time that Ayton is not on the court the better.

3. Ball movement is going to be key for the Ducks. Hopefully they can keep the momentum from this game up and get some solid ball movement for all 40 minutes.

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