Coming off a loss on their home court to an unranked team, the no-longer-ranked Oregon Ducks will look to get back on track Tuesday night in Eugene, Ore., against another big underdog, Montana State.
Both teams come in with 1-1 records.
Oregon, then ranked No. 21, led for only seven seconds of a 69-56 loss to visiting UC Irvine on Friday. After the Ducks took an 18-17 lead, UC Irvine went on an 18-4 run to grab control of the game for good.
The Ducks made just 32.7 percent of their shots (17 of 52), including 4 of 21 from 3-point range. They committed 15 turnovers in what was the largest margin of defeat in a home nonconference game for the program since a 67-54 loss to Virginia on Dec. 18, 2011.
UC Irvine had not won a game against a Pac-12 opponent since 2013.
Oregon coach Dana Altman felt he could see a rough night coming after the Ducks steamrolled Florida A&M at home in the season opener on Nov. 7.
“We got beat in every facet of the game: hustle, toughness,” Altman said following the UC Irvine game. “We’ve had a number of practices that resembled that, and I was fearful at some point in time that would come. They were the aggressor right from the start.”
Oregon’s most experienced players, guard Will Richardson and forward Quincy Guerrier, struggled to make shots, finishing a combined 1 of 11 for four points. Center N’Faly Dante led the Ducks with 20 points and nine rebounds.
Altman said Richardson and Guerrier were disappointed with their efforts.
“A poor mental effort,” Altman said. “We didn’t compete. I wish I had something positive to say, but really disappointed. The guys are disappointed. I’m disappointed. Got punched right from the start.”
Montana State opened the season on Nov. 7 with a 60-54 loss at Grand Canyon. The Bobcats didn’t play again until Sunday, when they topped Long Beach State 70-57, also on the road.
RaeQuan Battle’s career-high 24 points led the way for the Bobcats, who hit their first four 3-point attempts of the game and held off a comeback bid.
Darius Brown II, a transfer from Cal State Northridge, scored 11 points and added four rebounds and four assists.
“His motor was at another level,” Bobcats coach Danny Sprinkle said of Brown. “He’s so athletic and talented that when he plays like that, he’s so hard to guard. I’m so proud of him for taking the right shots at the right time, which is the next progression for him in order to be a tremendous player.”
The teams faced each in November 2009, with Oregon winning 89-66 in Eugene.
The Bobcats are the defending Big Sky regular-season and tournament champions and were picked to finish atop the conference in both the preseason coaches’ poll and media poll.
–Field Level Media