Men's BasketballSports

Ducks can’t cool down sizzling Tigers, lose 106-69



Jack Hunter

The Oregon men’s basketball team (4-3) suffered its worst loss of the season thus far as it fell 106-69 to Missouri (5-2) on Saturday afternoon. The Tigers used first-half runs of 11-0 and 22-1 to pull away 53-24 at halftime and the Ducks were unable to answer in the second half.

Sophomore guard Marcus Denmon paced Missouri as he tied his career-high with 17 points off the bench and was one of six Tigers to finish in double figures. Sophomore guard Kim English chipped in 14 points and three assists, while redshirt senior guard Zaire Taylor added 16 points and four assists on 4-of-5 shooting from three-point range.

“They shared the ball,” Oregon head coach Ernie Kent said. “They made shots when we were in rotation, they made shots when we were out of rotation — I just thought they did a wonderful job and played an excellent basketball game.”

Missouri tallied 28 assists on 37 buckets and finished the game shooting 57.8 percent from the field, including a 14-of-29 showing from beyond the arc. Six different Tiger players hit at least one three-pointer on the night.

“It’s crazy,” sophomore guard Malcolm Armstead told The Register-Guard. “They were hitting a lot of shots. They hit everything they threw up, basically. … There’s only so much you can do when a team’s got it going on offensively.”

Armstead led the way for Oregon with 12 points, two assists and three steals, while junior LeKendric Longmire and freshman Jamil Wilson each contributed 11 points. The Ducks got just five assists on their 22 buckets, but did manage to outrebound Missouri with a 43-35 edge.

Oregon’s shooting woes early on were accompanied by some sloppy defense as they finished the first half with 11 fouls and just eight made baskets. Eight different Duck players finished the game with two or more fouls.

“For a team that has struggled on the road, I thought they played a tremendous basketball game,” Kent said of Missouri. “They did a good job with pressure and were good defensively. Anytime you get 28 assists on 34 buckets, that’s unbelievable.”

Oregon senior Tajuan Porter was again sidelined from action with an ankle injury as he came off the bench to play just six minutes and accounted for zero points and one assist. An aching back injury kept Oregon’s only other senior, Joevan Catron, out of the game as well, while sophomore guard Matt Humphrey did not play again due to a knee injury.

With Porter and Humphrey out, the Ducks struggled to hang with Missouri’s strong three-point shooting, as Oregon shot an abysmal 4-of-18 (22.2 percent) from deep on the night. Sophomore guard Teondre Williams was held under double-digit scoring for the first time this season, shooting 2-of-11 from the field for just eight points.

“I think we relied on too many jump shots at a time,” Armstead said. “We weren’t attacking them. We started their transition break. We miss a shot, they take it out and they’re gone. So, it’s like we’re basically playing defense when we’re still on offense because we were shooting three-pointers that led to fast breaks.”

Wilson and sophomore Garrett Sim both provided small sparks off the bench for Oregon. Sim shot 3-of-9 from the field for seven points, pulled six boards, and grabbed two steals in 23 minutes, while Wilson went a perfect 5-of-5 from the free-throw line and also grabbed seven boards.

“In the first half, they drowned us with defensive pressure and outside shots,” Wilson said. “We dug ourselves a hole, and instead of being on a flat surface, we had to climb our way out.”

The Ducks will now try to recover with a home game against Saint Mary’s on Saturday, Dec. 12, at 1 p.m.

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