It should be quite the homecoming for Mike Moser when the Ducks play Illnois on Saturday night in Portland. Moser, one of Oregon’s newest transfers, graduated from Grant High School in Portland before taking his talents to UNLV for three years. Upon graduating from UNLV, Moser still had one year of eligibility left and decided to come back to the Pacific Northwest to play for the Ducks, emerging as a team leader.
“Heck, he (Moser) is just a couple years younger than I am,” Oregon head coach Dana Altman joked when asked if Moser would be nervous to play in front of family. “He’s pretty even keel. A big reason he came to Oregon was because of his family in Portland and having them watch him play.” Moser played at the Moda Center in Portland when he was in high school, back when the Portland Trail Blazers’ arena was called the Rose Garden. A big family atmosphere is to be expected for Moser’s homecoming.
“I’m really excited,” Moser said when he asked who was expected to attend the game for him. “My friends and family, the whole high school is going to be there. Close to 100-150 people should be there.” The large group of Moser supporters will see his team take on a 9-1 Illinois team that could easily be undefeated.
The Fighting Illini lost to Georgia Tech 67-64, a game where they were in control until late when Georgia Tech hit several three-pointers. “Solid team. They’ve got really good parts, they play well together,” Altman said. “It’s going to be a tough game for us. I like their athleticism and they’ll give us everything we want.”
The Illini are led by Rayvonte Rice, who averages a team-high 17.9 points per game and is second on the team in rebounds per game with 5.7. Tracy Abrams and Joseph Bertrand are the only other Illinois players averaging double figures in points with 11.1 and 11.0 respectively. John Ekey is the team’s top outside shooting threat, averaging just 9.1 points per game but shooting 47 percent from beyond the arc with 74 percent of his made baskets coming from three-point range. Despite those statistics, Illinois is one of the worst offensive teams in the country, averaging just 72.3 points per game (200th in the country) and 12.6 assists per game (199th).
Oregon, on the other hand, is one of the best offensive teams in the nation, averaging 91.4 points per game (2nd in the country) while shooting 53 percent from the field (5th best in the nation). Joseph Young is one of six Ducks averaging double figures in points per game (20.1). Moser is second with 15.0 points and has a team-leading 7.4 rebounds per game. Jason Calliste, Johnathan Loyd, Elgin Cook and Damyean Dotson are the other Ducks averaging double figures in points. Loyd is the team leader with 7.4 assists per game and has already had games with 13 and 15 assists. Follow Ryan Kostecka on Twitter @Ryan_Kostecka