The No. 13 Oregon Ducks started the 2021-22 college basketball season with a victory.
They look to keep moving forward Friday night against SMU in Eugene, Ore.
Four Ducks scored in double figures Tuesday night at Matthew Knight Arena, led by Will Richardson, in their 83-66 win. Richardson’s 20 points helped Oregon (1-0) take control in the second half and put away Texas Southern, an NCAA Tournament team last season.
Oregon also got 15 points from De’Vion Harmon, who made his debut with the team after transferring from Oklahoma. Jacob Young, a transfer who joined the program from Rutgers, scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half to help Oregon go into halftime with a 36-26 lead.
Young’s older brother Joseph starred for the Ducks from 2013-15. Oregon’s bevy of transfers made an impact in the first game of the season, with junior college transfer Rivaldo Soares scoring 10 points with five rebounds and Quincy Guerrier, a transfer from Syracuse, pulling down a team-high 12 rebounds.
The Ducks knocked down 12 3-pointers and made 19 of 21 free throws, despite only making 40 percent of their field-goal attempts.
“We went in with three things. We had to get off to a good start this season, I want to get the rebounding tone set. we were down four (in rebounds) at the half and came out in the second half and outrebounded them by seven,” Ducks coach Dana Altman said. “We’re going to play some small lineups at times, so we’ve got to do that. Defensively, in the first half, I was really pleased with our energy. We weren’t getting shots but our energy was good.”
SMU (1-0) won its 10th consecutive season opener 86-62 over McNeese on Tuesday in Dallas. Kendric Davis, a transfer from TCU, led the Mustangs with 18 points and seven rebounds.
SMU shot 47 percent from the field and held McNeese to 34 percent. Under head coach Tim Jankovich, the Mustangs are 92-9 when outshooting opponents and 62-8 when holding opponents under 40 percent shooting. They are also 85-17 when leading at halftime.
SMU, also impacted with a number of transfers this season, was 11-6 and made the National Invitational Tournament last season. Oregon got to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.
Jankovich knows Altman from years past, and said he knows a lot about the Ducks’ style because of his familiarity with Altman. But he said it won’t be a great advantage.
“I know what they do, I know their offense, I know their defense. But I know they have tremendous talent each and every year and it’s going to be a terrific challenge for us,” Jankovich said. “We’ll have to play a great, great game to win at Oregon. Not many people do that. But we’re excited about them. I’m glad it’s on our schedule.”
–Field Level Media