The Oregon men’s basketball team was able to overcome several key injuries last week to bounce back with an 89-66 win over the Montana State Bobcats on Saturday night at
The Ducks welcomed back sophomore center Michael Dunigan after missing the previous two games as he came off the bench to provide a much-needed post presence.
The 6-foot-10, Chicago Ill.-native scored a season-high 15 points and pulled down four rebounds, while going 7-of-8 from the free throw line. Dunigan’s presence alone was a welcoming site for his teammates after the Ducks dropped their previous two games to Portland and Montana, largely due to being outmatched down low.
“It was great,” junior LeKendric Longmire said. “Any time you have a big man that’s capable of a double-double every game, it’s nice to have him back.”
Longmire had another strong all-around game for Oregon. He chipped in 15 points, eight rebounds, three steals and one assist.
The young Duck squad played without seniors Joevan Catron and Tajuan Porter, who are both still recovering from injuries, while sophomores Matt Humphrey and Josh Crittle were both sidelined from action as well.
“To play that well, with those four guys sitting on that bench, that’s the most impressive thing,” head coach Ernie Kent said.
Although four active contributors were on the bench, other players to stepped up and filled the void, which showed just how deep Kent’s squad really is.
Freshman E.J. Singler recorded his first career start for the Ducks as he scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks in his 25 minutes of playing time.
“That guy does the same thing every single day,” Longmire said of Singler. “No matter what day in practice, he comes to practice and you know what you’re going to get from him. He’s Mr. Reliable.”
Singler found out he was going to get the start just 10 minutes before tip-off, but he said the news didn’t really change his mentality.
“I’m always prepared to play, however many minutes I get,” Singler said. “That’s the way you’ve got to look at it. Not whether you’re going to start or not.”
“He’s just a real solid basketball player that doesn’t make a lot of mistakes,” Kent added. “He gives you great effort and everything, too. It was nice to see him play so well.”
Aside from Dunigan and Longmire, four other Oregon players finished the game with double-digit scoring, while sophomore Teondre Williams led all scorers with a game-high 19 points on 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc. Williams has now scored in double figures in each of the Ducks’ first six games.
Sophomore transfer Jeremy Jacob had the biggest game of his Oregon career as well, recording the Ducks first double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomore Garrett Sim had 10 points and three assists off the bench and freshman Jamil Wilson added 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting.
“We really took this week to get up and down the floor,” Kent said “Push the tempo of the game more and what we call get back to playing Oregon basketball.”
The Ducks definitely accomplished that on Saturday as they outrebounded the Bobcats 49-20, while shooting 50 percent from the field for the game. Oregon also showed great poise from the charity stripe as it shot 23-of-27 as a team.
Juniors Branden Johnson and Erik Rush paced Montana State with 16 and 14 points, respectively, but the loss dropped MSU to 2-3 on the year, while Oregon now sits at 4-2 overall.
The Ducks will next be in action on Dec. 5 as they travel to Columbia, Mo., to take on Missouri in the Pac-10/Big 12 Hardwood Series. The game will be televised on
ESPNU with a 2 p.m. tip time.