EUGENE, Ore.,- The Ducks responded to Wednesday’s triple-overtime loss to UTEP by hammering Houston Baptist 91-50 to improve to 10-2 on the season.
The Huskies proved to be the perfect opponent for the Ducks to regain some confidence against, allowing them to dominate in nearly every facet of the game.
After shooting just 38 percent versus the Miners, the Ducks converted on 33-68 shooting, led by E.J. Singler’s 13 points on 5-6 shooting and Damyean Dotson’s 5-6 shooting.
“That [ball movement] was a big emphasis today. We were really stagnant and didn’t do well on the offensive side,” Singler said. “That was something we were looking to get better at, and I thought we did, especially in the first half.”
Dotson set a career-high Wednesday with 20 points, Saturday he was the first in double figures before failing to attempt a field goal in the second half.
“A freshman coming in, with that kind of confidence, is really unbelievable,” Singler said. “Hopefully he can keep that going throughout the Pac-12.”
“He takes coaching and criticism pretty well, which is always important if a player is going to make progress,” Altman said. “I think Dot’s going to be a really good player for us.”
With his season average dipping below 10 points for the first time since his freshman year, Singler came out more aggressive, scoring seven of the Ducks 13 points. He was held to just two points in Wednesday’s loss, in large part because of a defense that focused on denying him the ball.
“I had open shots and they went in. I had a rough game against UTEP. I wanted to come back and redeem myself,” Singler said.
Oregon ran out to a 26-point lead, before allowing the Huskies to finish the first half on an 18-11 run. In the second half, the Ducks held them to just one field goal in the first 13 minutes of play.
“They had some good looks they didn’t hit. Our defense is getting better,” Altman said. “Tony and Wave (Waverly Austin) inside adjusted a lot of shots.”
Free throw shooting, which played a large role Wednesday’s loss, when they shot just 14-for-27, was improved Saturday, as they shot 16-for-23 from the line.
The Ducks were once again dominant on the glass, starting the game out with a 19-2 rebounding advantage, finishing the game with 13 more rebounds than their opponent. Waverly Austin led the team with a career-best nine rebounds and Dotson added a career-best of his own with eight.
Tony Woods and Carlos Emory also reached double figures, scoring 14 and 10 respectively.
Oregon will have four days off for Christmas before returning to practice in preparation for a December 31 non-conference closer versus Nevada.
“We’re going to come back and try to hit it hard and get back in the swing of things,” Woods said.”
Altman said last year’s holiday break was the period of most growth for the team, and hopes to replicate that this season.
“We were struggling a little bit this time a year ago and the guys got together and starting move the ball better and the energy got up,” Altman said. “I’m hoping we can have a big jump here too, because we need to.
“We’ve got games that we need to make that improvement really quick. I hope that there is a sense of urgency to sharpen things up when we get back.”