CORVALLIS, Ore.,- Oregon entered the game with eight players without Civil War experience, it was one of those, a freshman in fact, who led the Ducks to a 79-66 win in their conference opener.
Guard Damyean Dotson scored a career-high 21 points, including 15 in the second half to give the Ducks a victory over the state-rival Beavers. He showed versatility in his offensive game, hitting pull-up jumpers, driving through the teeth of the defensive for lay-in and even nailing two of the team’s three three-point shots.
“I think he played just as well as anyone can. He knows it’s going to be a long Pac-12 season. I keep telling him that,” said senior E.J. Singler. “He’s been really good for us and hopefully he continue playing well for us.”
This was Singler's, an Oregon-native’s, seventh Civil War, through the week, he let those unexposed to the rivalry know its importance.
“I’m from Houston, so I don’t know anything about this,” Dotson said. “I’m pretty sure it was a big game, because E.J. was saying all week ‘We’ve got to get this, we’ve got to get this. It’s the Civil War’.”
The inexperience showed early, as the Ducks played a mistake-plagued first half, shooting the ball just 44 percent, turning it over 14 times and were outrebounded, something they have only been once all season. The Ducks trailed by six at the break.
“I just lost my composure a little bit,” head coach Dana Altman, whose halftime speech was audible from the media room, said. “If you’ve got to coach effort and things you’ve gone over and over in practice, you’re not making progress. In the second half I didn’t have to coach any of those things.
Among those things, was his team’s effort, something that was evidently improved come the second half, when they limited turnovers, outrebounded the Beavers 25-13 and held the Beavers to just 12-31 shooting, en route to a 51-32 second-half advantage.
“I think all of us were upset with how we played in the first half. We all get on each other, saying ‘We’ve got to pick it up, we’re better than this.’ We did,” Singler said.
Oregon took a strangle-hold of the game almost immediately following the intermission, exploding to a 14-2 run. Dotson and reserve center Waverly Austin each proved crucial over that stretch.
Singler, who turned the ball over seven times in Monday’s win over Nevada, played arguably his best game of the season, finishing with 15 points, and a game-high nine rebounds.
Dominic Artis also reached double digits with 11.
The concussion that forward Arsalan Kazemi suffered Monday held him out of practice all week, and the starting line-up Sunday. Despite that, Kazemi responded, like his team, with an efficient second half, scoring all eight of his points and grabbing six of his eight rebounds.
“He was a little rusty the first half, I thought he played very well the second half,” Altman said.