In their second game of the 2019 season, the No. 1 Oregon Ducks defeated the Utah State Aggies 109-52 at Matthew Knight Arena. Coming off a 89-47 victory in Monday’s season opener against Northeastern, the Ducks had more to prove.
Oregon got off to an extremely hot start early on, going on a 6-0 run in the first quarter and forcing Utah State to spend its first timeout very early in the affair. Building on a successful first quarter, the Ducks continued to press as the game went on.
The Oregon offense was explosive throughout the night, going 39-69 from the field and 17-32 from the 3-point line. The Ducks were just as effective in the paint, scoring 40 points in tight. In addition, the Ducks showcased their depth, scoring 31 points off the bench.
“That’s real impressive,” head coach Kelly Graves said of the Ducks’ high-tempo offensive performance. “That’s the way we play the game. And I love that, I think that’s beautiful basketball.”
While showing off their offensive abilities, the Ducks were highly effective on defense. With defensive efficiency in mind, Oregon was able to generate 13 turnovers and nine blocks. Oregon made a point of contesting the Aggies on the perimeter, holding the Aggies to a 25-percent 3-point percentage. In the face of a strong defensive front, the Aggies were neutralized inside the arc as well, scoring just 20 in the paint.
With the help of an aggressive defensive game, the Ducks were able to generate an additional 25 points off turnovers.
“I think our defensive effort tonight lead to some easier points,” Graves said of the Ducks’ much-improved fast break offense.
Thanks to solid team play on both ends, the Ducks never trailed.
Leading the team in points was sophomore guard Taylor Chavez, who cashed in for a career-high 25 points. Trailing closely behind were Ruthy Hebard, Sabrina Ionescu and Jaz Shelley who scored 19, 16 and 15 points, respectively.
Both Hebard and Ionescu reached personal milestones on Wednesday. Hebard reached 1,000 career rebounds, the fourth Duck all-time to do so. Ionescu broke two individual records, first reaching 800 career assists and soon after surpassing 2,000 career points.
A major key to the Ducks’ success thus far in 2019 has been their ability to work and support one another as a team.
“I have good teammates around me,” Chavez explained. “Sabrina’s telling me to shoot it every time I catch it. Everyone’s always hyping each other up.”