by DSH basket columnist Brian Mahuna
After walloping Western Carolina and scoring over 100 points the Ducks came back down to earth a little bit grinding out a 15 point win over a tough, well coached Utah Valley team. The Ducks came out of the gate hot, with their first three buckets coming from deep and Joe Young coming up with big steals and transition buckets. Young’s defense and the Duck’s hot outside shooting sparked an early 17-0 run in the early goings and the game had the making of what looked to be another rout. But Utah Valley wouldn’t go away, locking down the paint while the Ducks started to cool down from the outside. The Wolverines ended the half on a 10-2 run and went into the locker room down 25-29.
It was obvious from the start of the second half that Coach Altman was not happy with the way the Ducks were settling for jumpers in the first half because right out of the gate in the second Joe Young was on the attack, relentlessly forcing his way into the paint and finishing in traffic. Young finished the game with 20 points, shooting 8-15 from the field. His hot start to the season has been vital to the Duck’s success, with him scoring at least 20 in all three of their games this season.
Forever young: Joseph Young swoops in for a dunk in an uneven 69-54 victory over Utah Valley Tuesday night. The 3-0 Ducks host San Francisco on Sunday night (Ryan Kang, Oregon Daily Emerald photo).
Last week against Western Carolina the Ducks struggled to rebound the ball, trying to utilize their athleticism instead of being aggressive in their box outs. This game was markedly different, with multiple Duck defenders holding off their man long enough for the ball to actually hit the ground before anybody rebounded it.
Fast Break Notes:
Waverly Austin took a major step forward against the Wolverines. His ability to rebound the ball and stay out of foul trouble were key to this victory. He contested shots very, very well, ending up with three blocked and altering many others. His offensive game is unrefined, and it showed when he tried to hold onto the ball too long, but he finished the ball well in traffic, including a highlight put back jam in the first half, followed by an acrobatic finish for an And-1 bucket in the second. If his game continues to improve from this performance, the Ducks with be the beneficiary of a major inside presence on defense and on the glass.
Damyean Dotson continues to struggle with his shot but showed resilience by getting to the rim and finishing through contact on more than one occasion. He continues to do it all for the ducks, ripping down 5 rebounds, adding an assist and two blocks on the defensive end. He is a long, athletic, versatile defender who often makes his presence felt in ways other than scoring. With Young, Moser, and Calliste taking a more proactive role in the scoring, Dotson’s offensive game has taken a back seat. If the Ducks can get high percentage shooting from Dotson in the games to come, the teams pure scorers will have pressure taken off of them from the defenses and everyone will benefit.
Mike Moser impresses again with his high level rebounding the with the completeness of his game. He has an extremely high Basketball-IQ and it has been on display more than ever in the past two games. Moser only played 22 minutes and took only 6 shots, but he finished with 8 points, and 9 rebounds. He was active on the defensive end as well with a steal and a block. He is a rare talent, showcasing the ability to run the break on his own, and make good decisions with the ball in his hands on the perimeter.
Johnathan Loyd was effective tonight not only scoring the ball but also distributing and facilitating the offense. He plays hard nosed defense, giving the opposing point guard fits through most the the game. Holton Hunsaker, the WVU coaches son and starting point guard ended the game 2-10 from the field and 1-5 from three. A lot of those unsuccessful attempts by Hunsaker were a direct result of successful defense being played by Loyd. While guarding one of the other teams best players, Loyd rattled in 12 points and handed out 5 assists in 29 minutes
Jason Calliste played solidly in his time off of the bench. Calliste hasn’t been looking for his shot as much as some would like, only attempting four shots, all of which from beyond the arc. When he did venture inside he drew a foul and nailed his only two attempts from the line. He dished out three assists and grabbed four rebounds as well. While Calliste doesnt look timid on the court, he doesn’t look as aggressive either. He’s a crafty scorer and has very good quickness and athleticism to make defenders wobbly off the bounce. I would like to see him look to score inside more, then use the space he’s created from penetrating all game to his advantage on the perimeter.
Elgin Cook showcased athletic ability and acrobatic skills finishing through contact on his only attempt from the field. Like Calliste, Cook doesn’t look to score the ball when he is on the floor. He’s often playing a small ball power forward spot matching him up against a player with nowhere near the athleticism or speed that Cook possesses. He’s an intriguing talent and he showed as much scoring 16 off the bench in the Ducks last game. He grabbed 6 rebounds and scored 3 points tonight. Free throw shooting continues to be a struggle for him, as he went 1-3 from the line after going 8-14 from the line last week. But his length on the defensive end continues to be a problem opposing teams. Cook had two blocks, one of which was an absolute spike on a shot put up by Beaverton native and former Westview High School standout Hayes Garrity.
Richard Amardi is possibly becoming the Javale McGee of the Oregon Ducks. One moment he wows you with a spectacular dunk, then the next he dribbles to ball off of his leg in the post. He finished the game with 9 points and 5 rebounds, he added two steals but also two turnovers. He was effective inside most of the game, and shot 3-4 from the free throw line. He shows flashes of great things, a nice face up jab step and jumper in the post was as pretty as you’ll see, but then you see a dumb turn over and the ‘one step forward…’ cliche comes to mind.
The Ducks will face off against San Fransisco this Sunday at 5 PM on the Pac-12 Network. Check in with DSH after to game for the post game wrap up!