Battle-tested No. 13 Oregon hosts Hawaii

NCAA Basketball
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Coming off a good showing in the Battle 4 Atlantis nonconference tournament in the Bahamas over Thanksgiving week, the Oregon Ducks take the court for a game for the first time in eight days when they host Hawaii on Saturday in Eugene.

No. 13 Oregon (6-2) lost two close games to a pair of top-10 teams, Gonzaga and North Carolina, by a combined five points in Nassau. That was after the Ducks rallied from a 19-point second-half deficit to upend then-No. 13 Seton Hall, 71-69.

Those three games, plus a win over then-No. 13 Memphis last month, make the Ducks the only team in the nation to have played four top-15 teams this season. And a game at current No. 4 Michigan is still to come next Saturday in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Head coach Dana Altman said free-throw shooting and rebounding weren’t good enough for the Ducks in The Bahamas.

“I liked our efforts, I thought we played as hard as we could, but we have to be more physical on the boards. We took it weak to the basket a few times, and we’ve really got to take it strong. We just didn’t finish on plays,” Altman told the Register-Guard. “The free-throw line killed us. It really hurts when you lose a couple games to a couple good teams, and you really don’t do anything that is under your control.”

The Ducks have missed 55 of 158 free throws this season. But they’re outscoring opponents by 10.2 points per game and have held foes to 37.7 percent shooting.

Hawaii (6-2) has won the last five meetings between the two teams, as Oregon hasn’t defeated the Rainbow Warriors since the 1974-75 season. The last meeting was in 1999, and all of the past five have been played in Hawaii.

The Warriors, who have won three straight, are without head coach Eran Ganot, who stepped away from coaching to deal with a medical issue last month. Assistant coach Chris Gerlufsen is leading the team.

Hawaii’s last game was Dec. 1 against Hawaii Pacific, a 58-41 win. The Warriors started slowly on offense, missing 11 of their first 13 shots and scoring just four points through nearly nine minutes. But guard Eddie Stansberry scored 13 of his game-high 15 points in the first half to help Hawaii take control.

Stansberry’s 18.8 points per game leads Hawaii. Three other players average double figures in scoring, including 6-foot-9 forward Zigmars Raimo’s 10.4 points and team-high seven rebounds per game.

The Warriors haven’t defeated a Top 25 team in the regular season since Christmas Eve 2011 against then-No. 14 Xavier. They did beat then-No. 23 California in the NCAA Tournament in 2016.

“I think we’re going to have motivation from (the Hawaii Pacific game), not playing up to the level we’re capable of playing,” junior guard Drew Buggs told Warrior Insider. “We’re motivated to get back out there and show what we’re capable of.”

–Field Level Media

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