The Oregon Men’s Basketball team defeated Northern Arizona 83-73 on Saturday night to open the regular season 1-0 in front of 5,768 fans at Matt Knight Arena.
Senior center Tony Woods lead the Ducks with 14 points, one point shy of his career high, and seven rebounds in a game that the Ducks could never quite gain a comfortable lead and pull away.
With freshmen Dominic Artis, Damyean Dotson and Willie Moore all in the starting lineup, the Ducks lead the entire first half on 47 percent shooting but NAU was able to stay within ten points.
“Right now we’re looking for combinations,” head coach Dana Altman said after the game. “The starting lineup means a lot more to other people than it does to me. We’ll probably still be looking at until January first.”
Although they lead by ten at the end of the first half, the Ducks often looked lost under the glass and in transition defense, giving up seven points to second-chance opportunities and seven points off of turnovers.
“We just didn’t play well in that first half,” Altman said. “I thought we made a lot of mistakes defensively and our communication wasn’t very good.”
A back and forth second half came down to the final five minutes of the game. The Lumberjacks took a one-point lead with 5:44 remaining after a three by Blake Hamilton but Oregon would rally with a 9-0 run in the last three minutes to seal the game.
“I was worried,” Tony Woods said. “Anytime a team on the road goes on a run like that it gives them confidence but fortunately we were able to put together some rebounds and execute at the end.”
Oregon ended up shooting 48 percent for the game and grabbing 43 rebounds.
“We’ve got a tremendous amount of work to do in every phase of the game,” Altman said. “I thought we were prepared but we didn’t play as well as we could have. We’re going to have to make giant steps in a tremendous amount of time.”
The Ducks face Portland State on Monday night at Matthew Knight Arena in a 6:30 p.m. tip-off.