UO Men Post Third Straight Win

EUGENE, Ore.The Oregon men’s basketball team has won three straight, all at home, after beating California Baptist on Tuesday, 76-55, at Matthew Knight Arena.

Kario Oquendo scored 20 points and Jackson Shelstad added 17 points with eight assists as the Ducks shot 51.9 percent as a team, including 50 percent from the three-point line. Brennan Rigsby had 11 points and Jadrian Tracey added 10, combining for five three-pointers on the night.

“I think our guys are starting to get a feel for who we have to be to have a chance,” UO coach Dana Altman said. “We’ve got to outrebound people, we’ve got to get on the floor, we’re going to have to play really hard.”

The Ducks continue to play without four scholarship players, including big men N’Faly Dante and Nate Bittle. They trailed on the boards at halftime Tuesday, 18-12, but came out ahead overall, 34-33, led by eight from guard Jermaine Couisnard.

“Obviously we’ve got to work with what we’ve got,” Shelstad said. “We’d love to have them out there because it changes a lot of the game. But I think we’re doing a good job of adjusting, playing with a faster style and defensively playing more aggressive; rebounding is something we’ve got to get better at without them on the floor.”

How It Happened: Shelstad scored the Ducks’ first seven points of the night, but overall it was a slow start as Oregon led just 9-5 more than 8 minutes into the game. A three-point play by Oquendo capped a 7-0 run that made it 19-12, but moments later the Lancers put together an 8-2 run and tied it back up, 23-23.

Oregon never trailed in the game, though, breaking that tie with a three-pointer from Tracey followed by a three-point play from Kwame Evans Jr. Tracey hit another three late in the first half, and the Ducks led 36-31 at the break with nine assists on 15 baskets.

“When the ball’s moving, we’ve got four guards out there, we should be pretty efficient,” Altman said. “I was a little concerned about 14 turnovers (on the night) but a lot of positives.”

Rigsby opened the scoring after halftime with a three, and Couisnard capped an 8-2 run by the Ducks to open the second half. After Cal Baptist closed within 56-44, the Ducks scored seven straight, capped by another Rigsby three.

A three-pointer from Oquendo got the lead to 20 for the first time, at 68-48. The Ducks ultimately would lead by as many as 22 a couple of times, and now head on the road Sunday before playing one more nonconference home game on Dec. 21, prior to the start of Pac-12 play.

“Some good things there, some guys made some plays,” Altman said. “But they get tougher from here.”

Up Next: The Ducks face Syracuse in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Sunday (10 a.m., CBS).