Getting Defensive

Getting Defensive

EUGENE - Along with a perfect start through 11 games, the Oregon Ducks are drawing national attention as the country's highest scoring team.

EUGENE - Along with a perfect start through 11 games, the Oregon Ducks are drawing national attention as the country's highest scoring team.

Last week's overtime win over BYU marked the fourth time they've gone over 100 points this season. Oregon will have their final non-conference game against Morgan State and the entirety of conference play to attempt to add a school-best fifth game over the century mark.

For some historical perspective, the last time a UO team had four games over 100 points, they reached the Elite Eight (in 2001-02).

But the close victory over BYU did more than reinforce that the Ducks are capable scorers.

"It helps to point out some of our deficiencies," explained coach Dana Altman.

Those areas of concern are all too obvious if you've listened to Altman's harping this season, and against the Cougars, it was maybe the worst all season.

"We gave up way too many easy baskets… we got out-rebounded by 11. I know everybody says that's all I complain about, but its the truth. We didn't guard them and we got out-rebounded. Those are not good stats," he said Friday.

With conference play less than a week away, it's examples like this that could prove vital to another tournament run.

"We'd let them score, we'd score. We've got to come together with 40 minutes of lock down defense," said guard Damyean Dotson.

Dotson recalls last year's Sweet Sixteen season, and while he can't quite pinpoint when the transition to better defense began, he recognizes its importance in the Ducks success in March.

"I feel like our defense really stepped up in the [Pac-12] tournament and the NCAA tournament."

The Ducks are unlikely to be challenged to the same degree when they take the court Sunday versus Morgan State. The Bears are just 3-8 this season and began the season 0-6.

"It's more about us getting ready to play. It's a game where we've got to play and play as we're capable of playing," Atlman said.

Knocking Off That Holiday Rust

Altman gave the team four days off for the Holidays and most of the players were able to spend Christmas at home with their families. For Dotson, the trip home was the first since August.

"No, I didn't eat too much. I came back and I was about the same weight," he assured reporters.

But regardless Friday's scrimmage felt a little different according to senior Johnathan Loyd.

"It kind of sluggish at the end because we're probably a little tired and our legs started hurting," he said.

Oregon will have one more day of practice before Sunday's noon tip against Morgan State. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks with Rich Cellini and Ernie Kent on the call.

Projected Starters

Morgan State (8-3)

PG- Blake Bozeman (6-2, 170) 7.4 points per game, 20 made three-point field goals

SG- Justin Black (6-2, 220) 18.7 points per game, 2.2 steals per game

SF- Anthony Hubbard (6-5, 230) 10.0 points per game, 5.6 rebounds per game

PF- Cedric Blossom (6-6, 225) 6.5 points per game, 5.4 rebounds per game

C- Ian Chiles (7-2, 260) 14.5 points per game, 2.8 blocks per game.

Oregon (11-0)

PG- Johnathan Loyd (5-8, 163) 9.8 points per game, 6.8 assists per game

SG- Joseph Young (6-2, 220) 19.8 points per game, 3.7 rebounds per game

SF- Damyean Dotson (6-5, 209) 11.0 points per game, 4.4 rebounds per game

PF- Mike Moser (6-8, 211) 14.6 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per game

C- Waverly Austin (6-11 257) 3.2 points per game, 1.0 blocks per game.

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