Photo by Allan Johnstone
Oregon Basketball

Ducks Handle Boise State

December 15, 2018

Against Boise State, Duck fans got their first glance at this years’ team without Bol Bol – and it was not pretty, at least not at first. However, the Ducks would come out of halftime fired up and go on to win, 66-54.

In the first half, the Ducks reverted to a pass-heavy style of offense that more than not led to nothing, similar to earlier in the season. The starters for the Ducks -- Will Richardson, Payton Pritchard, Paul White, Kenny Wooten and Abu Kigab – all struggled to score, conbining for only 4 first-half points.

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To make matters worse for the Ducks, Boise State’s Alex Hobbs was on fire. Hobbs was just 3 for 11 from behind the arc before this game, but at the end of the first half he was a perfect 4 for 4. It didn’t matter if he was open or had a hand in his face; Hobbs was money.

The end result was Oregon going into halftime trailing Boise State 28-24. As in the San Diego game, Oregon came out after halftime pumped up and went on to play some really solid basketball.

It was obvious that the absence of Bol Bol hurt the Ducks’ offensive rhythm in the first half. But after intermission Oregon adjusted and started to roll over the less-athletic Broncos.

Another similarity to San Diego was the bench stepping up and sparking the Ducks. It wasn’t Ehab Amin tonight, but rather Victor Bailey Jr., who finished with 13 points and 3 rebounds. Bailey stepped up on multiple occasions, even completing a rare 4 point-play.

Pritchard also had a strong outing against the Broncos, finishing the game with 19 points, 5 rebounds and 1 assist. He asserted himself physically, driving to the rim a lot more than in recent games. That sent him to the line twice, and he went 4 for 4.

One area where Pritchard has continued to struggle with is passing. It says a lot when the guy whose job it is to initiate the offense only has 1 assist. Pritchard needs to continue to work on his overall game, but tonight's performance was definitely a step in the right direction.

The biggest factor in the Ducks' victory, in my opinion, was the defense. In the first half it was one of the only things that they did well, allowing Boise State just 28 points. And it only got better in the second half.

The Ducks have been very successful recently when they play aggressive, full-court defense. I think that has a lot to do with Amin, who always plays with a ton of energy on the defensive end.

In the end, the Ducks got the win, which is what really matters. But I think it also showed that they have enough talent and athleticism to win games without their star big man.

Hopefully, Bol’s injury isn’t serious and he can rejoin his teammates soon, because this team was finally starting to find its rhythm with him.

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