Five takeaways from Oregon’s 81-57 exhibition win over Idaho
Oregon tipped off its exhibition schedule Saturday morning with an 81-57 win over Idaho at Matthew Knight Arena. Elijah Brown scored 15 of his 17 points in the first half and freshman Victor Bailey Jr. added 17 of his game-high 20 in the second as the Ducks outscored the Vandals 49-28 over the final 20 minutes to pull away for the victory.
“It was a little better than I thought it was going to be,” said head coach Dana Altman, who said ahead of the game that he thought the Vandals should be favored in the matchup.
The Ducks outrebounded Idaho 37-27, shot 14 percentage points better from the field (50 percent to 36 percent), and held the Vandals to 30.6 percent shooting after the first quarter.
Paul White finished the game with 12 points and three rebounds, while true freshman Troy Brown swiped four steals to go along with his 11 points. Payton Pritchard scored five points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out five assists in his 24 minutes of play.
Here are five takeaways from the game:
1. Troy Brown looks as good as advertised.
Troy is one of Oregon’s highest-rated recruits ever and he showed exactly why on Saturday. He doesn’t force his game on offense and plays solid all-around defense. He altered shots and jumped in passing lanes, as he helped lead Oregon’s resurgent charge in the second half. Other than his steals, his numbers don’t jump off the page. But his talent is very apparent. Give him time to learn Altman’s system and he’ll shine.
2. Oregon’s halfcourt offense needs work
Oregon’s talent the last several seasons made up for the fact that it doesn’t run a revolutionary halfcourt system, and while the Ducks still have talented players, they’ve only been running organized practices for about a month.
Yes, Oregon did score 81 points, which it should do against a team like Idaho. But there were a number of instances where ball movement dragged and Oregon forced a difficult shot near the end of the shot clock. Oregon did improve in the second half — the Ducks shot 63 percent over the final 20 minutes compared to 38 percent over the first 20 — but its halfcourt offense will be something to watch in the coming weeks.
3. MiKyle McIntosh is Oregon’s most aggressive rebounder.
What Oregon lacks in size it’ll need to make up for with effort. Three players, including McIntosh, grabbed five rebounds. No player had more than that. McIntosh is listed at 6-foot-7, 240 pounds, which is little undersized for a power forward or center. But he was all over the boards in his 19 minutes of play. Oregon will need that with a much smaller front line this year.
4. Rim protection will be an issue, but Kenny Wooten looks up to the challenge.
Wooten is already drawing comparisons to Jordan Bell, who is Oregon’s all-time leading shot blocker, and Saturday only reinforced those notions. Wooten blocked a game-high three shots on Saturday and used his length and athleticism to alter others. With Roman Sorkin as Oregon’s returning leader in blocks with 12, Wooten figures to be Oregon’s best rim-protector this year.
5. V.J. Bailey will be fun to watch this season.
Bailey put on a show Saturday. After only scoring three points in the first half, Bailey erupted for 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting (2-of-4 from three) in the second. He played aggressively but under control. His teammates said that that’s the kind of player he is.
“V.J. is definitely someone who can provide instant offense for us, even as a freshman,” Elijah Brown said. “We’re still working with him in terms of finding his shot, where can he find it in the offense. But in terms of him and his ability, he can do it all.”
He also tried a highlight dunk attempt on a fastbreak in the second half that, if converted, would have been on every highlight reel for the next week.
Follow Gus Morris on Twitter @JustGusMorris
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