Oregon coach Dana Altman predicted that his team wasn’t ready for prime time earlier this week and was proven right with a lackluster showing Thursday. The Ducks look to bounce back from their first loss of the season Friday against DePaul in the consolation bracket of the PK80 Invitational in Portland, Ore.
After winning its first four games against lesser competition by an average of 33 points, Oregon received its first test Thursday against Connecticut and committed 17 turnovers in a 71-63 loss. Guard Payton Pritchard, the team’s only returning starter, led the Ducks with 14 points in a game that featured 53 fouls - 30 by Oregon. Freshman forward Troy Brown, who entered Thursday’s action averaging a team-high 13.0 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field, was held to six points and eight rebounds in 25 minutes against the Huskies. Coach Dana Altman is hoping for an improved effort from his young team against DePaul, which opened tournament play with a 73-51 loss to No. 5 Michigan State.
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU
ABOUT OREGON (4-1): Guard Elijah Brown, a New Mexico transfer who averaged 12 points in his first four games, fouled out after scoring five on 2-of-8 shooting against UConn. Senior forward MiKyle McIntosh provided a bright spot with 10 points and 11 rebounds, but Altman was left with more questions than answers after the Ducks shot 33.3 percent from the field and 5-of-24 from 3-point range. “I don’t know how they’ll respond,” Altman told reporters. “I don’t know what type of personality this team will take on.”
ABOUT DEPAUL (1-3): DePaul was tied at the half against Michigan State but shot 21.7 percent after the break as the Spartans took control. The Blue Demons began the week ranked last in the Big East in scoring (70.7 points per game), field-goal shooting (37.7 percent) and three-point shooting (26.7 percent) and continued to struggle in the tournament opener. Guards Max Strus and Devin Gage combined for 20 points on 4-of-20 shooting against the Spartans, who played without injured star Miles Bridges.
1. The winner faces Portland or Oklahoma in Sunday’s fifth-place game, while the losers fall to the seventh-place game.
2. The teams are meeting for the first time since Dec. 20, 1941, when the Blue Demons won 27-23 in Chicago.
3. Oregon is averaging 88.4 points on 49.3 percent shooting.
PREDICTION: Oregon 77, DePaul 63