Oregon has had to stew for much of the past week, waiting for a chance to get back on the court after an embarrassing 32-point loss to BYU in the Ducks’ own backyard at Portland’s Moda Center last Tuesday.
Oregon (2-1) made only 32.1 percent of its shots, lost the rebound battle and fell way behind early in an 81-49 loss, one of the worst ever under head coach Dana Altman, and fell all the way from No. 12 to out of the Top 25. But the Ducks now turn their attention to the Maui Classic in Las Vegas this week, opening up the tournament against Division II Chaminade on Monday night.
“We were very poorly prepared, and that’s my fault. A team doesn’t play that poorly if they’re coached well, and I’ve been soft. We displayed qualities that good teams don’t show,” Altman told the school athletics website. “They’re better players than that individually, so collectively we’ve got to be a better team.”
Altman said he still believes Oregon is a good team, and the Ducks have been known to peak in February and March during the Altman era. Now comes the Maui Classic, moved to the United States mainland due to ongoing travel concerns about the spread of COVID -19 in Hawaii.
The Ducks have to first get by the upset-minded Silverswords before a potential date with Saint Mary’s or Notre Dame.
Floor leader Will Richardson leads the Ducks in scoring at 15.3 points per game, having connected on eight 3-pointers this season, the most for his team. Transfer Jacob Young is next with 13.3 points per game, and returnee Eric Williams Jr. is at 12.7 points per game.
Oregon has wins over Texas Southern and Southern Methodist earlier this season, both at home.
It’s the Ducks’ third appearance in the Maui Classic and the first meeting ever against Chaminade of Honolulu.
The Silverswords (2-0) have a history of upsets in the Maui Classic and beyond. Most remembered for their stunner over top-ranked Virginia in December 1982 in Hawaii, not a Maui Classic game, Chaminade has eight wins over Division I teams since the tournament began in 1984.
Chaminade toppled Davidson that year, beat Providence in 1991, Stanford in double overtime in 1992, Villanova in 2003, Princeton in 2007, Oklahoma in 2010 and Texas, 86-73, in 2012. The Silverswords’ most recent Classic win was in 2017 over California of the Pac-12.
Chaminade has wins over Alaska and Alaska-Anchorage this season.
Guard Isaac Amaral-Artharee, who played in high school in the state of Oregon at Portland’s Central Catholic, is Chaminade’s leading scorer at 13 points per game. Another Portland native is 6-foot-11 center Joseph Smoyer, the only player taller than 6-foot-8 for Chaminade.
Look for the Ducks to get the ball inside to any of its four bigs at 6-11 or taller, including Franck Kepnang, Nate Bittle and the recently returned N’Faly Dante.
The Chaminade team had hoped until the last minute that the tournament would be played in Maui.
“I guess the second-best place to host it would be in Las Vegas, the ninth island,” head coach Eric Bovaird told the Maui News. “We’re hoping to have great support from there. There are tons of people from Hawaii there and there’s a lot of people interested in basketball. … I’m expecting pretty big crowds.”
–Field Level Media
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