Eugene, OR – The Ducks squared off on Saturday afternoon against the visiting Nevada Wolfpack (8-2). Oregon was looking for a bounce back win after a tough road loss against UCLA. Will Richardson shined with the first triple-double performance in 20 years for the Ducks. He had 19 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds to lead the Oregon to a 78-65 win at Matthew Knight Arena in front of 5,416 fans.
Oregon jumped out to an 18-6 lead at the 11: 55 mark of the opening half, after Quincy Guerrier knocked down his fourth 3-pointer in a row. In the first half, Guerrier scored 14 points on 4-of-6 3s. He got into a groove early with some good looks at the basket while catching and shooting in rhythm. The Ducks would extend their lead to 32-15, after the Wolfpack struggled shooting for the first 15 minutes of the half. They started out 1-for-11 on 3-point attempts. Guerrier continued his scoring prowess in the second half, showing that he can score both inside out and out. He finished with 26 points (7-for-13 FG), making 7-of-8 free throws and adding nine rebounds. Free throw shooting has been an area where Oregon has struggled early this season. Tonight, as a team, they shot 13-for-19 for 68 percent.
The Wolfpack rallied to get back in the game during the final five minutes of the half, with Jarod Lucas nailing a 3-pointer from the wing. Nevada would finish the half on a. 14-4 run to go into halftime trailing 36-29. Lucas a former Oregon State Beaver, leads Nevada on the season in scoring at 17.3 points per game. He nearly hit that mark again with 16 points. The shooting guard was bottled up most of the night, and he was forced by the Duck defense into difficult shots. His shot selection included several fadeaway jumpers, in which he managed to hit a few. He went 5-for-13 from the field and netted three 3s. Lucas is always a tough matchup for teams with his smooth shooting stroke. Also, he is constantly in motion, looking for his shot, whether moving off the ball or handling the basketball.
The second half started out with Oregon’s Richardson providing instant offense scoring five of the team’s first seven points to extend the lead back to 14 points with 18 minutes remaining. Oregon was in complete control throughout the remainder of the game. When Richardson is playing well and contributing in different phases of the game, the Ducks always have a chance to win. The senior scored 19 points on an efficient 7-for-12 shooting, while hitting four 3-pointers. The Ducks showed much more patience and flow at the offense end, than through the first third of the season, by assisting 17 times on 27 made field goals. Behind the Richardson’s leadership, Oregon would extend their lead to as much as 19 points.
N’Faly Dante and Brennan Rigsby helped contribute for the Ducks combining to score 18 points. Dante’s presence at both ends of the paint created mismatches and made it tough for the Wolfpack to get easy buckets in the paint. With Oregon in control in the second half, the Ducks at one point were outscoring the Wolfpack 26-12 in the paint, before Nevada made several baskets in the paint during the final few minutes. Dante recorded three blocks to go along with his 11 points (4-for-8 FG). Collectively, Oregon tallied 11 blocked shots in the contest to Nevada’s zero. Rigsby, a 6-3 sophomore scored seven points on 3-of-8 shooting. He showed the ability to drive left and step back for a mid-range fadeaway. Later in the game he would take the same angle but elevate for a floater.
The offense for Nevada struggled to find any consistency as they shot 7-for-28 on 3s and only 30 percent from the field. Early in the game, they had some wide-open shots from the perimeter, but could not capitalize on the looks. Kenan Blackshear, a 6-6 wing tried to keep the Wolfpack in the game. He had a team high 20 points on 5-for-14 shooting. He didn’t shoot the ball well, but kept attacking the hoop, drawing fouls and getting to the foul line. The junior went a perfect 10-for-10 from the strike. In addition, he had five rebounds and three steals.
Oregon collectively had one of their best shooting outcomes on the season by shooting 46 percent from the field (27-for-59), including 11-for-27 from downtown. Other keys to the Ducks victory is controlling the boards by the count of 44-36. This led to a 15-5 margin in second chance points. Coach Altman seemed to make transition defense a point of emphasis in this contest holding the Wolfpack to only four fast break points to Oregon’s 12.
Oregon (1-1, 5-5) will stay home to challenge UC Riverside (0-0, 5-3 on December 14. On the same day, Nevada (0-0, 8-3) will be back home to host UC San Diego (0-0, 4-4).