Berkeley, CA – After finishing first in Pac-12 play last year, the Oregon Ducks have struggled to replicate their success this year. The Ducks came into Cal’s Haas Pavilion Thursday night tied for seventh in Pac-12 play with their NCAA tournament hopes now resting on a Pac-12 tournament run.
To do that, Oregon (15-7) will have to play better than they did at Cal (7-17), as they struggled by the Golden Bears 66-53 despite 17 turnovers and Cal shooting 45 percent from the free-throw line. The Ducks are now above .500 for the first time in nine Pac-12 games and Cal has dropped nine straight games to fall to 1-9 in the Pac-12.
Despite their sloppy play, Oregon never trailed in the game due to efficient shooting. Freshman Troy Brown led Oregon with 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting and Elijah Brown added 15 points on 6-of 8 from the field. MiKyle McIntosh hit all nine of his free throws and finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Cal’s front court of Justice Sueing, Marcus Lee, and Kingsley Okoroh dealt with foul trouble all night long. Don Coleman led the Bears with 16 points and Sueing added 12. With their front court in foul trouble, Cal went to a zone and relied on their guards to ramp up the defensive pressure and force turnovers. Cal was able to stay in the game this way, outscoring Oregon 28-22 in the paint and getting 19 offensive rebounds to Oregon’s four.
Cal continued to struggle from the three-point line, shooting 24 percent. Darius McNeill missed all eight of his attempts. Cal ranks 329th among 351 teams in the nation in three-point shooting. Both teams are missing some more dynamic perimeter play to help get their offenses flowing. Even though Oregon guard Payton Pritchard had an off shooting night, when he wasn’t in the game, Oregon struggled to create shots.
Oregon will need to have a more focused attacking mindset when they travel to Stanford (6-4 Pac 12, 12-11 Overall) on Saturday and Cal looks to fend off the worst losing streak in school history vs. Oregon State at home Saturday.
Troy Brown (6’7, 215 lbs., G/F) -Brown methodically got his 16 points tonight with four of those points coming on free throws at the end of the game. He finished with 16 points on 5-of-6 FG (2-2 3PT) shooting, 4-of-8 from the free-throw line, five rebounds, three assists, four fouls, and three turnovers in 34 minutes. At 215 lbs., Brown has a very strong frame for a freshman and at this level beats defenders with strength more than speed. He uses his body effectively, plays in control, and has a good feel for the game. He has a smooth touch around the rim and defensively, he moved his feet well enough to keep up with Cal’s smaller guards. His shot can be quicker – he hit two open three’s tonight but will need to improve shooting with less space. He does not have great vertical elevation or explosive acceleration to create separation and that may hinder him in this year’s NBA draft.
This article was written by Will Winston, a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can follow us on Facebook, or on twitter. We are looking for those interested in our basketball scout certification program. For information contact us and forward your resume.