The Ducks, who were down by 13 points with just over four minutes to play in the first half, became the aggressor and used a 13-4 run to cut the halftime deficit to four. The second half saw each team battle back and forth for the lead until the Ducks went on a late 7-0 run late in the game that proved too much for the Illini to overcome. Oregon finished the game with 40 points in the paint, which for a team who doesn’t start a player over 6’7” is a very impressive feat. The victory is the first over Top-25 competition for the Ducks on the year.
With Oregon’s senior star Joseph Young being brought off the bench for violating a team rule, 6’6” freshman Dillon Brooks led the way with a career game, scoring 24 points and adding in five rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots. Young is a smart, athletic, and versatile forward with a smooth stroke. He doesn’t try force the action and consistently is in good positioning in regards to spacing and rebounding. Overall, Brooks is a smart, fundamentally sound player that every team values.
Coming off the bench for the first time in 42 games for the Ducks, preseason Wooden award nominee Young, still had an impressive impact on the game finishing with 15 points, four rebounds and five assists. He controlled the game from the moment he stepped on the floor, adding another dimension to the Ducks offense. He’s a creator capable of making plays on his own or for his teammates. Young can also shoot the ball with ease and has a great release going 5-for-12 tonight and 2-for-4 from the 3 point line. Going 3-for-3 from the free throw line tonight Young now is shooting an amazing 95 percent on the year, ranking him fifth in the nation.
While the Illini failed come away with the victory, fans have to be excited about the career game from senior guard Rayvonte Rice. Rice displayed his great shooting ability going 9-for-16 from the field, 5-for-7 from the 3-point line, scoring a season high 29 points. The Ducks often times were playing a 2-3 zone and Rice continuously made them pay from the 3-point line. Rice is a scoring machine; he has a good first step burst and a soft touch around the basket making him a very difficult match up.
The Illini will have a chance to get things back on track Wednesday at home vs. Hampton before a huge rivalry game next Saturday vs. 16th ranked Missouri in St. Louis. Meanwhile Oregon gets a break from power conference competition until Pac-12 play. The Ducks will host Cal State Northridge on Wednesday.
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