Last Friday, the Dons opened up their road trip with a 75-74 win over the Montana Grizzlies. The Dons got the W without senior Cody Doolin, who is not traveling on the trip due to personal reasons. Kruize Pinkins led the Dons with 22 points as the Dons got a narrow win. After improving to a record of 3-2, USF travels north to Eugene, Ore. to take on the 17th ranked Oregon Ducks. Going into the match up, both squads are offensively focused. The Dons have averaged 86 points per game and the Ducks have averaged 94.5 points per game.
At the beginning of the season, just before the Ducks traveled to South Korea for Opening Night in the Armed Forces Classic, the NCAA announced that two Ducks were to be suspended for the first nine games of the 2013-2014 season. The two players, Ben Carter and Dominic Artis, were caught selling team issued shoes. The suspension also required the pair of Ducks to donate $1,800 to a charity – the same amount of money received for the shoes.
These two teams have faced off 9 times with the Ducks ;leading the series with a record of 7-2. The Dons have not prevailed since a victory in Eugene in 1953. The last meeting was in the 2007 season as the Ducks scored 110 points points in a blowout against the Green & Gold. This year, both teams are scoring in bunches, leading to high scores on the scoreboard. The Dons however, have struggled defensively which could allow the Ducks to score over 100 points for a second straight meeting.
The Ducks will be a very physical team on the floor getting to the line an average of 45 times during their first two games of the season. USF took both Nevada and Idaho State to the line multiple times during their two losses of the season. In order to keep the game close, the Dons will have to stay out of foul trouble and keep the Ducks away from the line. Further, during USF’s win over Montana last Friday, the Green & Gold struggled with free throws to put the game away. Today missed free throws will easily cost the Dons the game early in the contest.
In order to stay close tonight, Kruize Pinkins, Mark Tollefsen and Cole Dickerson need to make their presence known in the paint. Also, with Senior Cody Doolin expected to miss the game, Corey Hilliard needs to step up his game and protect the ball. Tim Derksen and Avry Holmes will also see more minutes with Doolin out of the lineup. Rex Walter made some defensive and offensive adjustments in Montana after Idaho State shocked the Dons last week. Hopefully the Dons have become accustomed to these changes by today’s game in order to contend against a heavily favored Ducks squad.
After the Dons play the Ducks, they will travel back to the Hilltop and get set to host the inaugural Golden Gate Challenge. This four team event will also include the Sonoma Seawolves (D-2), Vermont Catamounts and Illinois State Redbirds. The Ducks will stay in Eugene as they prepare to host a tournament of their own. The Global Sports Challenge is also a four team event that includes the Cal Poly Mustangs, Pacific Tigers and North Dakota Fighting Sioux.
One For The Road
Take a walk in Eugene as the Ducks prepare for a typical game at Matthew Knight Arena.