Eugene, OR – The Oregon Ducks were back home Monday to take on the visiting Montana Grizzlies after dropping three out of four on neutral sites. The Ducks lost those games by an average of 24 points and they connected on only 36.6 percent shooting from the field and under 25 percent on 3s. The Ducks got back on track at Matthew Knight Arena in front of 5,739 fans, as they shot 66 percent for the game to take down the Grizzlies 87-47. Will Richardson tallied 18 points (7-for-10 FG) including connecting on four 3-pointers to pace the Ducks to an easy win.
Oregon was down 6-0 right out of the gate before responding with a 22-4 run behind their veteran leader, Richardson. Richardson, who was named an early finalist for the Naismith Trophy Watch, came out aggressive in the opening half scoring eight of Oregon’s first 14 points during the run. In addition, Jacob Young, who is in his first year with the program, completed two 3-point plays during the stretch. Young recorded 10 points (4-for-7 FG), six rebounds, three assists and four steals off the bench.
Starters De’Vion Harmon and Quincy Guerrier bounced back shooting the basketball after not finding their rhythm in the past few contests. Harmon, a junior, went 2-of-2 from downtown in the opening half and aggressively attacked the hoop to score off the bounce, tallying 11 first half points. The lefty would finish the game with 14 points (5-for-6 FG) including going a perfect 3-for-3 on 3-pointers. The Ducks were dialed in from the perimeter making 9-of-17 beyond the arc with most shots coming off great ball movement. Guerrier, a 6-8 transfer from Syracuse, looked to get to the basket at will, whether putting the ball on the floor or backing down his opponent. He would finish with eight points making 3-of-4 attempts from the field and recorded two assists.
N’Faly Dante was inserted in the starting lineup for the first time this season. In 15 minutes of play, he scored 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting. He also collected seven rebounds, added two assists, and one block. He affected the game at both ends of the floor. Offensively, he finished around the basket with great touch and finesse. On the defensive end, the 6-11 junior challenged shots by using his length to alter or even block. Early in the second half, Dante gave the Ducks a 24-point advantage by trailing the fast break and putting back an emphatic dunk off the missed lay-up attempt.
Josh Bannon, who leads the Grizzlies in points, rebounds and steals per game, struggled to get open due in part to the Ducks defense keying on him. Bannon (14.3 PPG), a 6-9 forward from Australia, scored only four points on 1-for-3 from the field as he was a non-factor for Montana. The Grizzlies got their scoring from shooting guard Lonnel Martin. The junior, was looking for his shot, especially coming off screens to catch and shoot beyond the arc. The 6-4 Martin shot 4-for-9 on 3s to lead Montana in scoring with 12 points (4-for-11 FG).
Oregon showed they were the more athletic and physical team by out-rebounding the Grizzlies by a count of 41-14. They also dominated the points in the paint with a 36-14 scoring margin. The Ducks activity on the defensive end showed up in the stats by scoring 16 points off Montana’s 13 turnovers and held them to 26.1 percent from the field. Oregon ended the game up by 40 points, which was their largest lead of the contest.
Oregon (4-3) will host UC Riverside (5-3) on December 1st. Montana (4-3) will stay on the road to face Sacramento State (3-3) on December 2nd.