Eugene, OR – The Oregon Ducks faced a better non-conference opponent tonight as the UCSB Gauchos arrived in Eugene with their big 6’8, 265-pound center Alan Williams who was recently featured in a Sports Illustrated article. UCSB should do well in the Big West this year and have played a difficult pre-conference schedule. The Gauchos sport a decisive win over Washington State, an OT loss to SMU, a 2-point loss to Colorado State and a 10-point loss at Kansas. They will head to Corvallis next week to face Oregon State in their final game against a Big-5 conference school.
Jahlil Abdul-Bassit (20 points) scored Oregon’s final seven points in overtime to lead the Ducks (9-3) to a thrilling 82-78 victory. Abdul-Bassit hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 78, and followed with a 15-footer to put Oregon up by two. He closed the night’s scoring with two free throws. UCSB had taken an early four-point OT lead on a nice banked hook shot by Williams but the Ducks fought back for their seventh straight OT win dating back to the 2012-13 season. Joseph Young led Oregon with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Jordan Bell added 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. Williams led the Gauchos (5-6) with 26 points on 10-of-23 from the field and 12 rebounds. Michael Bryson was impressive with 21 points on 4-of-6 from deep.
Oregon put Dillon Brooks back into the starting lineup tonight and he responded with ten first half points. Oregon led 36-30 at the half. The Ducks shot 50 percent (13-of-26) from the field in the half although they connected on only 2-of-10 from deep. Williams pulled down seven rebounds for the Gauchos but scored an inefficient seven points on 2-of-9 shooting. John Green led UCSB at the break with ten points.
UCSB came out on fire in the second half, scoring the first eight points and taking a 38-36 lead on a Green three-pointer. They extended the lead to seven (47-40) on a three-pointer by Bryson. The Gauchos started out the half shooting 4-of-5 from deep extending their lead to 58-47. Abdul-Bassit got the Ducks going, scoring a quick five points to cut the Gaucho lead to 58-54 with 10:23 remaining. Young hit a long three-pointer from the top of the key to cut the lead to one (60-59). Williams countered with a two, but Young connected on another three to tie the game at 62 at the 6:37 mark. Brooks fouled out shortly after and finished his night with 12 points.
The game stayed close the rest of the way. Michael Chandler scored off an offensive rebound to cut the UCSB lead to one (69-68) with 1:41 left. On the subsequent possession Casey Benson came up with a steal and lay-up for a one-point Duck lead. Oregon regained possession after a video review of a missed Gaucho shot inside. After a missed long three by Young, Bryson was fouled on the rebound with 14 seconds remaining. He made both FT’s putting UCSB back in front by one. Oregon called a time out to plan their final possession. Elgin Cook missed a shot inside but Oregon retained the ball with 4.6 seconds left. Young was then fouled with two seconds left. He made the first, but missed the second and the game headed to OT.
Williams has appeared in several NBA mock drafts as a possible second round pick. He’s put up big numbers in his career, averaging 17.7 ppg and 11.8 rpg this season after a 21.3 ppg and 11.5 rpg 2013-14 season. Williams looked good in the Kansas loss leading the Gauchos with 22 points and 13 rebounds. He’s certainly a big body and he knows he to use it against college competition. Our question concerning his NBA potential is that he’s a 6’8 center and doesn’t appear to have another position. He uses his body to block out for rebounds and doesn’t seem to have much lift. He scores most of his field goals in the paint, he doesn’t step out much for medium range jumpers and he doesn’t shoot three-pointers at all. While Williams is very tough inside he’ll likely need to be a “4” at the NBA level. Without much athleticism it may be tough for him to guard NBA “4’s” and his inside points would be limited.
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