Eugene, OR – The Oregon Ducks faced Florida A&M in a tune-up prior to traveling to Washington to start Pac-12 play this weekend. Oregon was a little slow at the start but pulled away later in the first half, eventually closing out an 87-66 win.
Chris Duarte had his most efficient offensive game of the early season leading Oregon with 23 points on 10-of-14 from the field including 3-of-7 from deep. N’Faly Dante, the Ducks’ 6-11 sophomore center had his best game of his short career, scoring 22 points, hitting all ten of his shots from the field and pulling down five rebounds in only 18 minutes. Dante fouled out with over six minutes remaining. Eric Williams Jr. was all over the court. The 6-6 junior transfer from Duquesne finished with 11 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocked shots. Eugene Omoyuri continued his solid play with 13 points, though he only shot 1-of-5 on 3s.
Florida A&M played strongly for the first seven minutes before Oregon took the lead for good on a three-pointer by Duarte to put the Ducks ahead 16-14. Oregon was buoyed by the effective play of Dante. Dante didn’t play his best over the first three games with erratic effort and questionable decisions. He had only 11 points over the three games. He doubled that tonight. In the last game against Eastern Washington he took three mid-range shots and was lackluster in posting up. Tonight it was different, as in the first half he posted up strongly and asked for the ball in the post. He connected on all seven of his shots, all from inside the paint, and scored 14 points in 11 minutes of action. Duarte had a strong half offensively scoring 12 points, hitting 2-of-4 three-pointers. Williams Jr. (6 first half points) scored back-to back baskets off offensive rebounds to give Oregon a 37-24 lead. The Ducks ended the half with a 47-35 lead.
The Ducks pulled away in the second half to a 25-point lead with 5:47 left and worked on their offensive sets the rest of the game and even got three walk-ons into the game. Oregon didn’t shoot particularly well from distance tonight only going 6-of-23 (26 percent). They did outscore Florida A&M in the paint 62-32, helped by all of Dante’s ten field goals. The Ducks shot an exceptional 32-of-40 (80 percent) on two-point field goals helped by excellent ball movement as well as by Dante’s points. Oregon still needs to clean up their turnovers (16 tonight) but they did compensate for that with 20 assists. Florida A&M was led by Evins Desir, a 6-8, 300-pound senior center from Haiti, with 12 points.
Oregon heads to Seattle to face Washington in their Pac-12 opener on Saturday.