2018.12.12.EMG.HMW.UO.MBB.VS.SanDiego-11.jpg

Ducks guard Payton Pritchard takes the open jumper. Oregon Ducks men’s basketball takes on San Diego University at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. on Dec. 12, 2018. (Henry Ward/Emerald)

By the end of the first half, Oregon men's basketball was off to a rough night shooting. Without freshman center Bol Bol, the Ducks' leading scorer who sustained an injury to his left foot earlier in the week, the team shot 35 percent from the field and trailed the Boise State Broncos 28-24.

The Broncos were dominating the game from deep, shooting 6-10 from three-point range led by junior guard Alex Hobbs, who was a perfect 4-4 from beyond the arc. The Ducks, on the other hand, were a mere 2-9 from three.

However, the Ducks found rhythm in the second half, shooting over 65 percent from the field and holding their opponent to 30 percent shooting to defeat the Broncos 66-54, improving to 7-3 on the season.

"First half, we came out slow," said sophomore guard Victor Bailey Jr., who was 4-6 shooting with 13 points off the bench. "It's all about energy and coming out to play hard in the second half, and I think we did that."

Bailey said his team struggled moving the ball around efficiently in the first half. Redshirt senior forward Paul White, who had 14 points and five rebounds, said that once they focused on ball movement, it allowed the Ducks to get downhill toward the basket rather than passing the ball around side to side.

Head coach Dana Altman said transition baskets, ball movement and getting to the free-throw line allowed his team to score better in the second half.

"At times I thought our activity was really good," said coach Altman, who appreciated the activity of players who stepped up in the absence of Bol like White and junior point guard Payton Pritchard, who lead the team with 19 points. "But at times we didn't recognize what Boise's strengths were."

In the absence of Bol, the Ducks struggled finding a presence and moving the ball in the low post. The freshman phenom has scored in the double-digits in every game this season, and is the only player in the Pac-12 to rank in the top-five in scoring, rebounds, blocks and three-point shooting percentage.

"Bol brings a lot to the table, but we all have to step up," said Bailey. "We just have to come together with one goal, focus, lock in , and I think we stepped up tonight."

Coach Altman recognizes the importance of Bol, but says his team can still run most of the same plays. He says the major improvements his team needs to make is on the offensive glass, where his team isn't getting second-chance opportunities from offensive rebounds.

The last of four-straight home games for the Ducks will be on Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m. where they will take on Florida A&M.

Sports reporter covering soccer, cross country, women's basketball, track and field and baseball.


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