Dominic Artis Shines in Season Debut For OregonPosted by Kenny Ocker on December 18th, 2013
There was some question as to how the Oregon Ducks would reintegrate returning suspended sophomores Dominic Artis and Ben Carter into an offense that was statistically one of the most efficient in the country. If the Ducks play as they did in the pair’s return Tuesday night against UC Irvine, that topic will quickly be rendered moot. Oregon came out and drained its first five three-pointers during a 30-7 run early in the first half, two of which Artis assisted on, and took a 48-29 lead into halftime in Eugene during an eventual 91-63 win.
Like many other games for Oregon this season, the scoring load was spread around and the shooting was strong, both from inside the arc and three-point range. Artis and Carter each played bit parts as coach Dana Altman works them into his rotation – the former scored five points and had eight rebounds and three assists; the latter four points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals – while four players finished in double figures, led by senior transfers Joseph Young, who had 18 on 7-of-10 shooting, and Mike Moser, who had 15 points and six rebounds while making 3-of-4 three-point attempts.
As a team, the Ducks (10-0) didn’t miss a beat against the Anteaters, shooting 20-of-48 on two-point shots and 12-0f-19 on three-pointers with 17 assists on their 32 made shots. Defensive rebounding, Oregon’s weakest spot, was strong (26 of 36 available rebounds were grabbed) despite playing against a team that starts 7’5” Mamadou N’Diaye at center and strong rebounder Will Davis at power forward. Artis’ return was particularly noteworthy on the defensive glass, where he grabbed seven of his team-high eight rebounds. He had plenty of opportunity to grab missed shots, as the Anteaters shot 41 percent from the field and the former starter played a team-high 26 minutes after his replacement, senior Johnathan Loyd, picked up four fouls in 12 minutes. “I’m glad we were able to get [Artis] a lot of minutes,” Altman said. “Johnny’s foul trouble kind of set it up that way, and I thought he handled it pretty good.”
Young, Moser and Altman each had praise for how the sophomores played in their return, especially their impacts on defense. “I feel like we’re way more active on defense because we’ve got DA coming in, we have Ben on the rebounds. It’s a whole new squad when they came,” Young said after the game. Moser cited Carter’s maturity on the court, saying, “Defensively, he really gets it, and that helped us out today.”
Though the Ducks had four players scoring in double figures and 11 who scored on Tuesday night, the team isn’t worried about the effects of a lengthened playing rotation. “Having a lot of talent never seemed to be a problem on any team I’ve ever played on,” Moser said. “We have the right blend of guys, so I don’t think it should be an issue.” Though he mentioned how added depth would give his team more chances to press, Altman was curt when asked about who will be starting at point guard once Artis is fully integrated into the team. “You guys worry about that and we’ll just worry about just playing,” Altman told the media. “It doesn’t matter to me – I know it matters to the guys and probably matters to other people – but I’d rather worry about who’s going to finish the game and who’s going to make plays.”