While the Oregon men’s basketball performance didn’t quite match the historic night for the women’s team just a few hours earlier, Dana Altman’s crew had themselves a fantastic night of their own in a 106-75 win over Boise State on Saturday.
In lieu of top big man Francis Okoro, the Ducks shot the lights out and set a Matthew Knight Arena record for field goal percentage.
“We’re not very big,” head coach Dana Altman said. “Especially without Francis out there. So we’re gonna have to play really hard, run the floor really hard...it was a great step.”
The Ducks now have two good wins under their belt before facing the first real test of the season against No. 14 Memphis on Tuesday.
Anthony Mathis has a chance to be one of the best shooters Oregon has had in years
Mathis’ path from West Linn to Eugene wasn’t a straight one, but now that he’s wearing the green and yellow, it’s clear that he can shoot it like few Ducks have in a long time. He connected on 9 of his 11 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 30 on the night. His nine triples were an arena record.
“You make the first one, that’s like a breath of fresh air,” Mathis said. “After I made that first one, I was good to go.”
He shot 41 percent from deep for New Mexico last season, and he looks to have picked up right where he left off despite the deeper 3-point line in college basketball this season. If the Ducks can get Mathis to consistently stretch the floor around their long, athletic wings, more 100-point nights could be on the horizon.
Payton Pritchard was already the team’s best player, but he’s gotten even better
There wasn’t a Pac-12 Player of the Year watch list in the offseason that didn’t include Pritchard, but he’s added more to his game in 2019-20.
His mid-range game appears to be more polished than it ever has — he hit a couple pull-ups out of the pick-and-roll against Fresno State, and a couple mid-range jumpers in transition on Saturday against Boise State further displayed that growth. He’s also looked stronger finishing at the rim and on the glass, which will be crucial for a team that lacks size up front.
Pritchard finished the night with 19 points, seven assists, six rebounds and three steals.
Looking forward to Memphis
Oregon is going to have to do on Tuesday what it did on Saturday night — penetrate and kick, shoot it well and, at times, pressure the ball for 94 feet on defense.
Memphis is big and athletic. James Wiseman, its 7-foot-1 center, may or may not play in Tuesday’s game because of an NCAA issue, but if he does, Oregon is going to have to force turnovers on the perimeter. It simply doesn’t have the size to match up with Wiseman one-on-one down low.
6-foot-9 forward Precious Achiuwa presents many of the same problems matchup-wise, especially if starting center Francis Okoro isn’t able to play. Point guard Boogie Ellis, who was recruited by Altman and the Ducks, is averaging 15 points per game through two games, and will give Pritchard all he can handle on both ends.
“Pretty athletic,” Altman said of the Tigers. “I just saw part of their game [on Friday]. Obviously, their athleticism and length stick out...We know they’re talented. Everybody in the country is talking about their talent.”
All eyes will be on the Moda Center on Tuesday, and the result will go a long way toward determining just how good this Ducks team is.
“We’ll find out where we’re at,” Altman said.