Troy Brown, Elijah Brown help Oregon beat Colorado 77-62
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Bouncing back for a home split on the opening weekend of Pac-12 play gave Oregon coach Dana Altman cause for optimism.
But his young Ducks, still smarting from a 10-point loss to Utah, have a long way to go as they hit the conference road for the next two weeks.
Troy Brown had a season-high 21 points and seven rebounds, and Elijah Brown added 17 points to help lead Oregon to a 77-62 victory over Colorado on Sunday night.
“Our energy level was much better,” Altman said. “We had some really good stretches defensively.
“I think there’s still a lot more defensively, but it was a big step from the other night because just our activity and our energy was much better.”
Kenny Wooten had 13 points and seven rebounds for the Ducks (11-4, 1-1 Pac-12). Payton Pritchard added 12 points.
The Buffaloes (8-6, 0-2) were led by Namon Wright with 20 points, and McKinley Wright had 13 points and seven assists.
Wooten started off strong after not attempting a field goal and going scoreless in the Utah loss. The freshman made all four of his shots and is now hitting a conference-best 76.5 percent from the field.
“Kenny’s been solid,” Altman said. “We haven’t been getting him the ball enough and he never calls for it.
“He’s got to start calling for the ball and making those guys throw it to him. . He’s giving us so many things, we’ve got to give him the ball every now and then.”
Colorado outrebounded Oregon 32-30 but finished with 20 turnovers and a season-low eight free-throw attempts.
The Ducks’ press fueled a 13-2 run, after Buffaloes had pulled within four points early in the second half, to open a 52-37 lead. Colorado trailed by double figures the rest of the way.
Altman puts such a premium on defense that even the freshmen are used to his hollering for them to get back while they’re still on offense.
“We tend to get caught up on making baskets and forget to get back on D,” Wooten said, “so he (Altman) tries to put an emphasis on getting back even before the ball goes through the net.
“That’s just what coach Altman does.”
Troy Brown, a freshman, and Elijah Brown, a graduate transfer, combined to shoot 13 of 22 from the field as Oregon made 26 of 51 overall and hit 19-of-22 free throws.
The Buffaloes started 1 of 8 from the field and finished shooting 42.4 percent (25 of 59).
Oregon’s season hits a critical juncture as a soft early schedule -- with only one true road game among its first 15 contests -- turns tough with a Civil War rivalry game at improved Oregon State before the Ducks visit No. 3 Arizona State and No. 17 Arizona.
Colorado opened the season with six consecutive wins but has lost six of its last eight games, including three in a row. The Buffaloes return to Boulder brings visits from the Pac-12′s only two ranked teams this week in Arizona State and Arizona.
STAT OF THE GAME
Colorado came in shooting 21.8 free throws per game but didn’t go to the line in the first half and finished making five free throws on eight attempts, both season lows.
Wooten’s 3-point play and Elijah Brown’s three free throws keyed a 10-0 run that gave Oregon some separation five minutes into the second half.
Troy Brown had four of Oregon’s 11 steals in his best overall performance of the season. He’s third in scoring for the Ducks (12.7 points per game) and leads them in rebounding (7.6).
HE SAID IT
Oregon’s next opponent, Oregon State, took Utah to the wire before falling by two, and the Ducks are headed to Corvallis. “We’re not anywhere near where we need to be to go beat Oregon State on Friday,” Altman said. “We’re going to have to practice really well Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to be ready to go.”
Oregon’s Paul White came off the bench for three points and five rebounds after missing two games in concussion protocol. White had started 10 games before being injured. . CU freshman Tyler Bey, coming off a season-high 14 points against Oregon State, fouled out with three points in 14 minutes. . Wooten had three blocks, giving him 49 through 15 games, a pace that would break the Oregon record of 110 set by Chris Boucher two seasons ago.