Second Half Surge Lifts Ducks Over Miners

EUGENE, Ore.Shutdown defense was on display Saturday night as Oregon men’s basketball forced 18 turnovers and held UTEP to just 36-percent shooting in a 71-49 victory at Matthew Knight Arena.

Jermaine Couisnard was a leader on both side of the floor for the Ducks, scoring a game-high 18 points – including 15 in the second half – to go with five steals. Couisnard’s scoring fueled a 15-3 Oregon scoring run in the middle of the second half, helping the Ducks grow their lead to as large as 24 before then night ended. 

Freshman Kwame Evans Jr. scored 12 points while swiping five steals himself, helping Oregon score 17 points off of turnovers in the second half. Keeshawn Barthelemy (11), Jackson Shelstad (10) and Jadrian Tracey (10) rounded out the UO double-digit scorers for the game, Oregon’s third this season with five players scoring 10-plus.

Oregon surrendered just 10 points across the final eight-and-a-half minutes of the second half as the Ducks held an opponent under 50 points for the fifth time since 2020 and first since limiting Florida A&M to just 45 points last season.

How It Happened: Scoring was scarce in the first half as the two teams combined for 22 turnovers in the first 20 minutes thanks to scrappy defense and a quick pace of play. Oregon forced misses on each of UTEP’s first five shots and caused six turnovers before the Miners made their first field goal of the game, a 3-pointer with 13:02 on the clock. UTEP sank another deep ball on its following possession to get back in the game quickly, tying the score at eight apiece as the game reached the second media timeout. The run continued for the Miners as seven UO turnovers in a six-minute span enabled a 16-2 run for the visitors, giving them their largest lead of the game at 18-10.

Oregon responded well by scoring the game’s next 10 points with balanced production to reclaim the lead. The Ducks made six of their final seven shots of the half – including each of their last four –to hold onto a 28-25 lead as the teams went to the locker room. Barthelemy led all Ducks with eight first-half points on a perfect 3-of-3 shooting from the floor.

After trading buckets to open the second half the Ducks sank five-consecutive shots – including a triple from Barthelemy – to help build the lead to nine. UTEP kept itself at an arm’s length for the next five minutes before UO broke through with a 15-3 scoring run – including 11-straight – fueled by eight points from Couisnard and stingy defense that forced four turnovers while clamping the Miners to 1-of-8 shooting during the stretch. The run grew the Oregon lead to 18 and proved to be insurmountable for the visitors as the Ducks allowed just 10 points across the final 8:17 of the game to lock down their sixth victory of the season. Couisnard poured in 15 of his game-high 18 points in the second half as four Ducks reached double-digit scoring on the night.

Up Next: Oregon hosts California Baptist in Matthew Knight Arena at 7 p.m. PT on Tuesday.