Eugene, OR – The Division 2 Western Oregon Wolves made their way to Eugene for Oregon’s final exhibition contest. Western Oregon is coming off a 57-47 exhibition win over Oregon State and were excited to potentially get a sweep from the Oregon state schools.
Western Oregon plays solid defense and has more height than the typical Division 2 team with five players on the roster 6’8 or taller. They are taller than the Ducks and figured to be able to compete on the boards. (That didn’t happen). Lewis Thomas, a 6’8 Australian transfer from UCSB and 6’9 Egyptian Marawan Sarhan, a transfer from Charleston, are among the taller Wolves. They also feature 6’6 junior Jordan Wiley, the brother of Drew, who spent some time with the Ducks before transferring to Boise State.
The Wolves came out strong, scoring the first eight points of the game and taking an early 18-7 lead. Oregon came back, taking advantage of their superior athleticism to take a 48-37 lead at the half. Wing scorers Dwayne Benjamin (10 points) and Dillon Brooks (9 points) led the Ducks in scoring at the half. Oregon pulled away in the second half to a 104-55 win led by Benjamin’s 22 points, a double-double from 6’6 Elgin Cook (19 points, 10 rebounds) and 17 points from Brooks. Oregon used their athleticism to generate a +23 rebounding advantage.
While Oregon pulled away for the relatively easy win, the game exposed a few issues that the Ducks may or may not resolve as the regular season commences. Their obvious weakness is their lack of inside scoring or presence on defense. We had Oregon predicted for eighth place in the Pac-12 but that was when we thought 6’10 Michael Chandler would be available early in the season. Now we are hearing that is questionable at best, and Chandler would need to get into game shape whenever he is ready o play. 6’8 Jordan Bell will help inside and can block shots but at times the Ducks played the 6’6 Cook at the “5” as well as the 6’7 Benjamin. That might be fine against lower quality D1 opponents but won’t work so well in the Pac-12.
Both Benjamin and Brooks will be able to provide scoring to complement Joseph Young. They’ll need to help out while Oregon pushes the pace to have a shot against taller opponents. Young will need to spend a lot of time at point guard as frosh point guard Ahmaad Rorie may need some time to acclimate himself to top college competition.
Oregon opens the season with home games against Coppin State (Nov. 14th), Detroit (Nov. 17th) and Toledo (Nov. 21st). The Detroit and Toledo games will give an early indication of how the season might progress.
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