Eugene, OR – The No. 13-ranked Oregon Ducks hosted the SMU Mustangs at Matthew Knight Arena Friday night. Having cruised to easy wins in their opening games, both squads were looking to build on early season success. The Ducks shot 63.7 percent from the field, including connecting on seven 3-pointers in the first-half to jump out to a 50-35 advantage, and never surrendered their lead. The trio of Eric Williams Jr., Will Richardson, and Jacob Young combined to score 55 points in an impressive all-around performance as the Ducks rolled to an 86-63 win.
For the second straight game, Oregon went with a three-guard lineup and Young got the Ducks on the scoreboard early and often by scoring the first six points of the game. He started with a 3-pointer, then got fouled on a 3-point attempt (1-for-3 FT) and later, scored in transition with a strong finish at the basket. The Ducks made their first seven field goal attempts of the game, including going 4-for-4 from the 3-point line, to lead 19-6. Oregon’s hot shooting and highly potent offense continued throughout the entirety of the half, especially from the 3-point line, where they finished the half hitting 7-of-12. Young, who is the brother of former Oregon basketball player Joe Young, scored 18 points in the game (7-for-13 FG) while adding three rebounds and two assists.
Oregon’s Richardson, was called for his second foul at the 16-minute mark of the first half. Coach Altman strategically subbed him in and out of the lineup for the duration of the half to avoid having him receive a third fou;. The foul trouble did not slow down the 6-5 point guard as he looked to attack, often scoring several baskets at the rim and showing off how deadly he can be from the 3-point line. Richardson spotted up or stepped back into a smooth 3-point jumper, and the lefty scored 18 points (7-for-12 FG) in 21 minutes while going 4-for-5 from distance.
After Oregon extended their lead to 40-20, the Mustangs got back into striking distance with an 11-3 run, cutting the lead to 12. Kendric Davis, who led the Mustangs and the American Athletic Conference last year in both scoring (19.0 PPG) and assists (7.6 APG), played a role in the run by scoring or assisting on all 11 points. The 6-foot senior did struggle to find his rhythm the remainder of the game due to the defensive pressure displayed by Oregon. Davis shot 1-for-6 from the 3- point line (2-for-8 FG), scoring just nine points and gathering five assists to go along with his three turnovers. Most of the scoring came from backcourt teammate Emmanuel Bandoumel who scored 14 points (5-for-14 FG) on 4-for-8 3s and added five rebounds. The Mustangs received production off the bench from freshman Stefan Todorovic who shot 3-for-5 from the perimeter to finish with nine points.
The lead for the Ducks increased slowly in the second half even though the pace of play significantly slowed down with the focus on running the offense. Williams Jr. scored 14 of his team’s high 19 points in the second half. He shot 8-for-14 from the field, and added five rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Due to the strong shooting start for the Ducks, Williams Jr. took advantage of the defense with simple shot fakes, followed by attacks to his left and a finish at the rim, often through contact.
For the most part, Coach Altman only used a 7-man rotation, but he managed to garner key contributions from his bench. Rivaldo Soares, a first team NJCAA All-American out of South Plains Community College, was aggressive in looking for his shot while using his athleticism to crash the boards. He played significant minutes, scoring 10 points (3-for-8 FG) and collecting seven rebounds. Also, Franck Kepnang added seven points (3-for-5 FG) and six rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench.
For the game, Oregon shot 51.6 percent from the field while holding their opponents to 37.7 percent. They outscored SMU 48-20 in points in the paint. Oregon’s dominance in the contest included outrebounding the Mustangs 40-25, forcing 15 turnovers, and generating 18 points off those turnovers to only give up two points.
Oregon (2-0, 0-0) will play in the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Oregon against BYU (2-0, 0-0) on November 16th. SMU (1-1, 0-0) will host Northwestern State (0-2, 0-0) on November 15th.