Ducks guard Victor Bailey Jr. (10) checks the scoreboard after being fouled hard. Oregon Ducks men’s basketball takes on San Diego University at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. on Dec. 12, 2018. (Henry Ward/Emerald)

It was a dismal start for Oregon men's basketball on Tuesday afternoon. Miscommunications, turnovers, air-balls and a field goal percentage of 14 put the team down to the Florida A&M Rattlers (3-9) after 10 minutes of play. The Ducks were 28 point favorites over the Rattlers, but after the slow start there were groans from the stadium crowd.

However, the highly favored Ducks pulled themselves together with a 21-0 run over five minutes of play toward the end of the first half. The team defeated the Rattlers 74-64 despite the rocky start, improving to 8-3 on the season with their fourth straight victory.

"We just have a tremendous amount of things we have to work out still," said head coach Dana Altman, who said there isn't one specific facet of the game that his team is playing exceptionally. "It was a disappointing finish and our start was poor. It just shows how far we still have to go as a team."

Even after four straight victories, Altman said the team's disappointing finish took away from the win. The Ducks were up by 23 points with six minutes to go in the game, but a 13-0 run by the Rattlers brought the game to a mere six point deficit in the end.

"Coming out today was one of those games where we really had to get our feet under us," said redshirt senior Paul White, who had 13 points. "They were breaking our press and coming down vertical to the basket. I was just glad we were able to come together as a team and will our way in to the half." 

The Ducks were without freshman center Bol Bol and sophomore forward Abu Kigab, both of whom sat out due to injuries. Bol has been a prolific scorer for the Ducks, shooting in double-digits in every game he has played thus far.

"Bol is a phenomenal talent, and the starting lineup was a lot bigger with him in it," said White, who says his team is starting to spread the floor more to make up for Bol's absence.

Coach Altman said there is still no update on Bol's left foot injury, and does not know when an update will come.

Starting for the Ducks for the first time in their careers were freshman forward Louis King and sophomore guard Victor Bailey Jr. Bailey led the team in scoring with 16 points and gathered three rebounds over his 33 minutes of play.

"In the first half he was being real aggressive on offense and defense," said White regarding Bailey. "He was being real disruptive, and was the athletic guard that we know he can be." 

But in the second half, White said the Rattlers held Bailey off. The sophomore guard had loose footwork that led to him shooting 5-14 from the field and 2-9 from three, coach Altman said.

"I thought had been really disciplined before on his footwork and balance," said Altman. "But he did some good things offensively. He gives a spark."

After four straight home games, the Ducks will take to the road to play the Baylor Bears on Friday.

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

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