In a day filled with upsets, the Oregon Ducks made sure to take care of business against Holy Cross. The PAC-12 Champions came out flying from every part of the court and ran away with the victory. By the time the game was over, the Ducks had won by 39 points, defeating Holy Cross 91-52.
Boucher dominates opening 20 minutes
Chris Boucher continued his fine play as he contributed 20 points tonight to lead the way. He started hot early, slamming home multiple alley-oops and got his teammates involved. Boucher showed why he was one of the best players in the conference this season as the Canadian exploited Holy Cross's defensive woes. In the span of three minutes in the opening quarter of the game, Boucher completed three alley-oops which set the tone for the night.
It is hard to stop Oregon because they can hurt you in so many different ways. One night, they will hurt you from the three point line. The next, it will be because of their ability to use their size and pound the opposition down low. And they can even beat you with the players they have coming off the bench.
One of these substitutes is Dwayne Benjamin and he made an impact early on. He put back a massive tip-shot before draining a big three pointer. That shot from deep gave Oregon a 19-8 lead which continued to build throughout the first half.
When that first half wound down, the Ducks continued to fly, opening up an 18 point lead. They shot nearly 50% from the field and missed only 15 of the 29 attempts. One area in which they struggled was shooting the ball from distance. In the opening half they made but two shots from that range with ten of them missing
Only two starters scored for the 16 seed in the first half. Eric Green had six points while Malachi Anderson had two, with both coming off free throw attempts. Robert Champion leads the way off the bench for the Crusaders with 16. As a team, they made just nine shots off of 24 attempts and were a mere 2-7 from deep. This was never going to get the job done for Holy Cross and their struggles continued into the latter half of the game.
Ducks offense stays hot
The second half was more of the same for Oregon. They opened up with an 11-2 run with Kendall Smart, Elgin Cook and Jordan Bell getting involved. In one possession after the under-16 timeout, Oregon showed how good they were. Brooks missed but Boucher hauled down the offensive rebound. The ball made its way to Tyler Dorsey, but he missed an easy layup. Boucher got another offensive rebound before slamming it back home immediately. In that one possession, Oregon showed their willingness to fight for every point even when they were up big already.
Throughout the second half, the Ducks won extra possessions which really curtailed Holy Cross's hopes of a comeback. Dillon Brooks got an offensive rebound off of a missed free throw before getting a high-percentage shot right the rim to make it 59-29. Then, on the next offensive possession, Smart missed a jump shot, but Boucher tipped the rebound through the net to push the lead to 32.
Oregon's second half shooting percentage increased, ending the night at 55.7%, making 34 of 61 shots. However, 20 of those came from behind the three point line and the Ducks made only 6 of them. Their three point shooting will have to get better as the tournament goes deeper into March. The Ducks could come across a school that is good at defending below the rim and if they cannot get any shots to go from long range, that could signal an end to any championship aspirations.
On Sunday, the Oregon Ducks will play either Saint Joe's or Cincinnati.