Oregon’s ceiling for this season became a bit limited earlier on Wednesday when it received word that point guard Dylan Ennis would miss the rest of the season.
But that didn’t stop them from defending their home floor against a tough competitor.
The Ducks picked up their first Pac-12 win of the season, defeating California 68-65 in Eugene. Chris Boucher was the player of the game here, as he scored 18 points and keyed an Oregon defense that held the Bears to 40 percent shooting from the field, including zero made 3-pointers, and forced 18 turnovers. For his part alone, Boucher blocked four shots and had four steals to go with a few other deflections.
Tyler Dorsey was also strong, scoring 17 points including a cold-blooded 3-point dagger with one minute remaining. He’s going to need to continue to grow quickly, as Ennis’ injury leaves the Ducks rather thin in the backcourt. His time in Eugene ends before it even starts, as the Villanova transfer will miss the season with his broken foot. He was expected to come in as a graduate transfer this offseason and combine with Dorsey to man the lead guard spot. Just a sad situation all-around, and undoubtedly a disappointment for both parties. Without him, the Ducks will rely further on Casey Benson and Kendall Small.
As far as their outlook for the season goes, as long as they continue to hold their home court they should be in good shape. That’s been the story of the Pac-12 thus far. Home teams are 8-3 on the season, and expected bottom-dwellers Stanford and Washington State have accounted for two of the losses. Holding court at home and stealing a couple on the road will be the recipe for Oregon to make the NCAA tournament this year.
And that’s a goal still well in reach following its win over Cal, despite the bad news earlier in the day.