The Oregon men’s basketball team started their 2013 season Sunday night with an easy 99-59 win over cross-campus rival Northwest Christian. The exhibition game was the head coaching debut for former Ducks standout Luke Jackson, but the Beacons were outmatched by the 18th ranked team in the country.
“Frustrating,” said Jackson of the loss. “That’s a big time D1 school and they’ve got a lot of talent. I have a tremendous amount of respect for (head) coach (Dana) Altman.”
Northwest Christian had turnover troubles, committing 19 giveaways during the game.
“The times that we took care of the ball and we actually ran our offense and they didn’t take us out of it, I was pleased,” Jackson said.
The game got out of hand fairly quickly. Oregon went on a 10-0 run to increase their lead to 29-13 with seven minutes to go in the first half. The Ducks went on another 10-0 run late in the first half to go up 51-27 at halftime. The Beacons committed 16 fouls that led to 20 Oregon free throws, 16 of which were converted. NCU had 13 first-half turnovers and zero assists, shooting just 24.2 percent from the field. Former Ducks Austin Kuemper and Coleton Baker combined for 15 of Northwest Christian’s 29 points on 6-of-16 combined shooting. Oregon was led by transfers Jason Calliste and Joseph Young who dropped in 15 and nine, respectively, on 7-of-9 shooting. Young added five steals and Calliste connected on all three attempts from three-point land.
Oregon began the second half on yet another 10-0 run, expanding the advantage to 61-27, and it was all Ducks the rest of the way. Young led the scoring charge with 12 second half points to finish with 20 and led the team in minutes played with 26. Calliste also had 20 points on 6-of-6 shooting and sophomore Damyean Dotson added 12 points and five rebounds.
Young transferred from the University of Houston and was declared eligible to play on Friday by the NCAA and won’t have to sit out a season before playing.
“First I want to thank God … I was very happy,” said Young of his waiver acceptance. “It felt good, playing out there with Johnny Loyd. Just a basketball game. Still got a lot of things to work on, but it feels good.”
Young averaged 18 points per game for Houston last season and shot 42 percent from behind the three-point arc. He shot o-of-4 from distance Sunday night, but his five steals were an addition that Dana Altman would like to see more of.
“Not as much as I’d like,” said Altman when asked if Young’s defense had stood out in practice. “But he has been picking it up. He’s focused in on his defense. I think he’s made a conscious effort to really improve his defense.”
A lot of new faces made their way onto Kilkenny Court Sunday night — eight, to be exact. Each of Oregon’s seven transfers saw playing time while returners Dominic Artis and Johnathan Loyd were limited.
“I wanted to play everybody,” Altman said. “It’s been a long month of practice and I wanted to get everybody out there and on the floor and so I didn’t play a lot of those vets a lot of minutes. In a game like that, we need to get things worked out.”
The Ducks have one more exhibition game against Point Loma before beginning their season on ESPN against Georgetown in South Korea on Friday, Nov. 8.