Eugene, OR (SportsNetwork.com) - In the second matchup of a three-game homestand, the No. 17 Oregon Ducks will square off with the Utah Valley Wolverines in a non-conference tilt at Matthew Knight Arena.
The Wolverines are in the midst of a five-game road swing that began in Stillwater against Oklahoma State last Tuesday. The Wolverines didn't put up much of a fight in their first road contest of the year as they were routed, 93-40, by the now seventh-ranked Cowboys. Utah Valley won its first two games, at home, with triumphs over IUPUI (74-66) and North Carolina A&T (78-71).
Oregon made it back to the mainland after the season opener in South Korea against Georgetown to kick off this homestand. In the first part of the three- game stretch the Ducks easily bested Western Carolina (107-83). The Ducks are now 2-0 on the early season and looking to keep up their success at home from a year ago when they had 17 wins in 19 games in Eugene.
Tuesday's matchup will be the first ever between these two programs.
At no point did Utah Valley look like it might threaten to upset Oklahoma State last time out. The Wolverines trailed 50-25 at halftime and didn't come close to mounting a comeback in the second half when they had just four field goals. Turning the ball over 23 times certainly didn't help the cause.
Even with two wins under their belt the Wolverines still have work to do on the offensive end. Though the poor showing against Oklahoma State certainly has a lot to do with it, Utah Valley is connecting on just 39.2 percent of its attempts from the field, while averaging only 64 points per game. Although no player scored in double figures against Oklahoma State, three are averaging in double figures on the year. Holton Hunsaker (12.0 ppg, 3.7 apg) leads the way in both points and assists, though he is connecting on just 25 percent of his attempts from the field. Every other player that has seen significant time is shooting better than 40 percent from the field, including forwards Zach Nelson (10.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and Ben Aird (10.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg).
The Ducks struggled to find their footing against Western Carolina until the second half. They bounced back in a big way, shooting 74.1 percent from the field, including a 7-of-8 effort from beyond the arc, to turn a two-point lead at halftime into a 24-point victory.
Through the first two games of the season the Ducks have been humming along on offense, averaging 94.5 points per game, while netting 53.1 percent from the field. Although the sample size is small, the Ducks are within the top 20 teams in the country in each category. Joseph Young has been a major part of the offense. The Houston transfer poured in a career-high 36 points against WCU after having 24 in the opener against Georgetown. Mike Moser (20.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg) also found his way to Eugene via transfer and the former UNLV forward has gotten off to a great start as a Duck. Moser scored 26 points in the win over WCU and is currently leading the team in rebounds. With those two scoring at such a high rate, Johnathan Loyd (9.0 ppg, 5.0 apg) and Damyean Dotson (8.0 ppg) have been able to concentrate on other things in the offense, while the team continues to await the return of Dominic Artis, who is serving a nine- game suspension to start the year.