Coppin State's strong second half in Juan Dixon's debut not enough in 70-54 loss to Oregon
By Associated Press
Nov 11, 2017 at 7:05 AM
EUGENE, ORE. — Oregon coach Dana Altman is looking for a few good men to take on some dirty work.
Scoring won't be a problem for the Ducks, but defense is fast becoming job one after Roman Sorkin had a career-high 23 points and Troy Brown scored 18 to lead Oregon to a 70-54 victory over Coppin State on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
It was also the debut of former Maryland basketball star Juan Dixon as coach of the Eagles.
“We've got to have some volunteers to really step up and start guarding,” Altman said. “We weren't very sharp in that second half, so there's a lot of work to do.”
Coppin State looked much more relaxed in the second half as they played even with the Ducks to start the period. About seven minutes in, the Eagles started to mount a comeback, first going on an 8-0 run anchored by a three-point play by Cedric Council.
Sorkin, a senior making his first start in 54 career games for Oregon, had 18 first-half points, and Brown had 12. Sorkin, whose previous high was 15, missed only one of his nine shots, went 4-of-5 on 3-pointers and added seven rebounds.
Payton Pritchard, the only returning starter from Oregon's 2017 Final Four team, added 10 points and eight rebounds. The Ducks had a 43-28 edge on the boards.
Oregon extended the nation's longest home winning streak to 43 games, a school record. The Ducks led 42-14 at the half after holding the Eagles, who missed their first nine shots, to 14.3 percent shooting (4-of-28).
However, Oregon was outscored 40-28 in the second half as Coppin State caught fire from 3-point range. The Eagles had three late possessions where they were shooting to cut the deficit to single digits.
Coppin State also committed just two turnovers — to the Ducks' eight — after halftime.
“Really kind of a bad first showing,” Pritchard said. “Defensively, the second half was terrible.
“It was our first game for a young team, but that's no excuse. We've got to come out way better than we did.”
Oregon: The rebuilding Ducks saw their school-record of 27 consecutive weeks in the Associated Press Top 25 end when they were unranked in the preseason poll. Oregon and South Carolina were the only 2017 Elite Eight teams not to be ranked.
Coppin State: Picked 12th in the 13-team Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference preseason poll, the Eagles haven't won more than nine games since making the 2014 NCAA Tournament with a 12-20 record. Their schedule includes road games against five Power 5 Conference teams.
Coppin State plays its second of eight road games to start the season at East Carolina on Sunday. The matchup with the Pirates is part of the Showcase on the Banks Tournament. The Eagles' only home game among their first 12 is against Navy on Dec. 6.
Oregon continues its soft four-game opening home stand against Prairie View A&M on Monday night. The Ducks' first challenge should come on Thanksgiving night against Connecticut in Portland at the PK Invitational, with the winner likely facing No. 2 Michigan State.