Eugene, OR – The No. 13-ranked Oregon Ducks opened their season against a Texas Southern team that won 17 games, a SWAC tournament title and an NCAA tournament First Four win. Oregon overcame some poor early shooting and pulled away for an 83-66 win in front of 7,037 fans. Point guard Will Richardson came on strong with 12 second half points to lead the winners with 20 points. Quincy Guerrier, the Syracuse transfer scored all his eight of his points in the second half and was the rebounding leader in the game with 12. John Walker III, a 6-10 redshirt junior who started his career at Texas A&M led the Tigers with 19 points and six rebounds. He showed a nice all-around game, hitting 2-of-5 three-pointers.
Oregon transfers Jacob Young (14 points on 5-of-8 shooting) and De’Vion Harmon (15 points but only 4-of-15 from the field including 3-of-10 from deep) both played 35 minutes and looked comfortable with and without the ball. Junior college transfer Rivaldo Soares was active and looks like he’ll be part of the rotation this year. The 6-6 Soares finished with 10 points and five rebounds in 20 minutes. He had two and-1 three-point plays and scored on a cut on a nice feed from center Isaac Johnson. 6-11 Franck Kepnang, coming off concussion protocol, was active in his 11 minutes of court time, scoring seven points and grabbing four rebounds. The Ducks freshman 7-footers, Nathan Bittle and Johnson played a combined 11 minutes with their only points coming on a Johnson transition dunk.
Oregon started a smaller lineup than most predicted with Guerrier at center, three guards (Richardson, Young and Harmon) and Eric Williams Jr. Young started the Ducks off with two three-pointers but then they cooled off for much of the half, at one point shooting less than 25 percent from the field. Richardson and Harmon connected on late three-pointers to help Oregon to a 36-26 halftime lead. Young was the most impressive Duck with 12 points on 5-of-7 from the field including two 3s. Guerrier was scoreless but pulled down seven rebounds. The Ducks finished the half shooting 32.4 percent (11-of-34) from the field including 6-of-19 (31.6 percent) from deep. They were strong with the ball only committing two turnovers compared to 11 for Texas Southern.
Oregon’s offense was much more fluid in the second half. Richardson scored seven early points, the Ducks shot 4-of-7 from deep and ran out to a 54-35 lead at the under 12- minute media timeout. Another Richardson three right after the break gave the Ducks a 22-point lead. They coasted from there to the 17-point win.
The Ducks shot 49.4 percent (15-of-31) from the field in the half and connected on 6-of-17 (35.3 percent) from deep. Oregon shot extremely well from the free throw line all night finishing 19-of-21 (90.5 percent). It seemed like Oregon settled for too many three-pointers, several of them contested and finished the night 12-of-36 from deep. Oregon’s three guard offense was effective in limiting turnovers, committing just eight against 15 total assists. They forced the Tigers into 16 miscues.