Oregon had its biggest opportunity in the early season with a game against Memphis in Portland. The Ducks came into this game ranked 14th in college basketball, while Memphis came in at 13th. James Wiseman played for the talented young Tigers team despite being ruled ineligible by the NCAA, making this an even more challenging game. However, Oregon was able to lead most of the game and picked up a big 82-74 win.
Oregon Picks Up Big Win Over Memphis
This Win Will Follow to March
It’s never too early to start worrying about your tournament resume.
Oregon has the look of a definite tournament team in the early part of the season. However, seeding is always something that teams are positioning for. Being a higher seed can of course benefit with slightly easier early-round matchups in the tournament, but it can also increase chances of staying as close to home as possible.
After seeing Memphis last night, they are going to win. The American Athletic Conference has some good teams at the top, but Memphis is going to be a lot of them on talent alone. And they will win a lot of games with or without Wiseman.
That was a good team, and come March, this is going to be a big win for Oregon. Expect Memphis to be ranked most of, if not all of the season, and they should win about 25 games.
Flashing the Depth
After the Boise State win, it was clear this team was deep. That depth showed in this game.
Payton Pritchard contributed in different ways, but at 4/11 shooting and 2/8 from three, it was far from his best shooting game. To make up for it, Anthony Mathis went 4/5 from deep, posting 12 points, and Shakur Juiston contributed in a big way once again.
Juiston nearly had a double-double Saturday with points and assists, but in this game, he did it with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Oregon also got a lot of production from the bench. Chandler Lawson had eight points and four rebounds against his hometown Memphis. Lawson is clearly going to be a factor for this team as the season goes on. He is extremely long and he can move really well for his size.
Also off the bench, Addison Patterson went for seven points. But the best player off the bench was Will Richardson. Not only did Richardson score 10 points with six assists, but he hit a huge three-pointer with 3:36 left to extend the lead to 74-67.
Richardson became a key part of the team in the late-season run last season, and he has clearly taken the next step. He would be starting on a lot of other Pac-12 teams. And with Chris Duarte leaving the game after bumping knees with Precious Achiuwa, he gave Oregon minutes they needed.
Plenty To Improve On
While this was a huge win, Oregon still has plenty to improve on. For starters, they had 18 turnovers in this game. This was by far the most athletic team Oregon faced this season, and at times they let Memphis speed them up. This should be something they learn from. 18 turnovers have the potential to hurt them in future games.
Another thing that needs to be improved is free-throw shooting. On the game, Oregon shot 15-27 (55.6 percent) from the line. On the season the team is shooting 65.7 percent from the line. That’s just not going to cut it. And it hasn’t been just big men like Francis Okoro getting to the line and skewing the percentage. Everyone besides Duarte, Richardson, and Lawson has missed their fair share. Much like turnovers, this is something that can and will bite them in close games later on.
The last thing that just has to get better is rebounding. Oregon did a great job of getting to the offensive glass in this game with 14 offensive rebounds. However, they allowed 18 offensive rebounds to Memphis. This was something that was a concern in the first two games, but Memphis was really able to make them pay for it. Of course, getting N’Faly Dante in the fold should help. However, he won’t be back for about another month at the earliest. This is going to be the roster for at least the next month, and Oregon needs to be better about all five guys on the floor boxing out.
The guards on the floor have generally done a good job of trying to help on the glass, so it’s not guys trying to leak out on offense. Everyone just needs to be better about making sure every offensive player is being boxed out.
Oregon Beats a Ranked Memphis Team: Up Next
Oregon will return to Matthew Knight Arena on Sunday for a game against UT-Arlington.
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