Hardwood Ducks’ defense continues to be stingy

Posted by Jackson Long on Monday, Nov. 19 at 10:35 pm.

The Ducks weren’t too hot with the basketball in their hands on Monday night, scoring only 67 points and turning the ball over 18 times, but on defense Oregon played in top form against the visiting Gamecocks of Jacksonville State (from Jacksonville, Ala.).

For the second straight game, Oregon held its opposition to 20 points in the first half, a feat Oregon accomplished only twice all of last season.

The Ducks’ defensive endeavor was lead by senior center Tony Woods, who early in the second half had tied his career-high in blocks for a game with five. His fifth swat brought his career total to 60, pushing him into the top-10 all-time for the Ducks. Woods also finished as the game’s leading scoring with a career-high 17 points.

“I think he (Woods) is getting more and more comfortable every day,” head coach Dana Altman said. “He protects the hole really well.”

Even though Oregon was lackluster on the points-scoring side of things, the Ducks were still able to lead at one point by a 25-point margin. Oregon forced the Gamecocks into 23 turnovers, with Arsalan Kazemi serving as Oregon’s leader in steals with five. Kazemi, in only two games for the Ducks this season, has been the squad’s best rebounder in both, racking up seven rebounds against Vanderbilt and eight more on Monday against Jacksonville State.

“Arsalan has been a big help for us,” Woods said of his teammate.

“He is a good player and his instincts are really good,” head coach Dana Altman said. “He has ability to go get the ball, he is physical on the boards and defensively he anticipates really well. Once he gets more comfortable with our team I think he will be really good.”

Oregon as a whole was dominant on the boards against the visitors from Alabama, out-rebounding the Gamecocks 37-26.

Very few Jacksonville State shots went uncontested on the night, as the visitors were limited to a horrific 38 shooting percentage on the night. The Gamecocks did nothing to bail themselves out with extra points, going one of eight from three-point land before hitting their last two attempts to salvage some statistical measure.

Oregon’s defense will need to continue its grit in the Ducks’ next game, against UNLV, who is currently No. 25 in the nation, averaging 84.5 points per game.

“Honestly we have a long way to go on defense,” Woods said.