Wooten paces Oregon’s 114-56 victory for Altman’s 600th win
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — A nice round milestone landed Dana Altman squarely among the coaching elite and in a reflective frame of mind.
Kenny Wooten had 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Victor Bailey scored 18 points to lead Oregon to a 114-56 victory over Alabama State on Friday night.
The two freshmen led six Ducks (3-0) in double figures as Altman became the 10th active men’s coach to win his 600th game. In his eighth season at Oregon, Altman is 600-313 in 29 years as a Division I coach.
“You just think about all the players that you’ve been fortunate enough to coach,” Altman said. “They’ve been really good guys to work with and they’ve bought in.
“The schools that I’ve worked at — Oregon, Creighton, Kansas State and Marshall — basketball is important to all those schools.”
His current squad spread the wealth as Elijah Brown added 15 points, and Payton Pritchard, Troy Brown and Abu Kigab had 13 each.
Altman credited Brown, a graduate transfer from New Mexico, with settling the defensive tone with seven deflections in the first half. Brown also had six assists.
“He could have taken some shots, but he passed them up,” Altman said. “I thought he played great.
“He was really trying to get the ball moving.”
Wooten led Oregon to a 46-20 edge in rebounds and added five of the Ducks’ six blocked shots, even though he was the third player Altman used off the bench.
“He just started going after boards, and I thought that freed him up to do everything,” the coach said. “What I’m really pleased about is his teammates did a nice job of getting him the ball for some easy ones, but those 13 rebounds, that’s what we need.”
Eight Ducks made at least one 3-pointer as they finished 15 of 24 behind the arc.
Reginald Gee led the Hornets (0-4) with 15 points.
Oregon won its 45th consecutive game at Matthew Knight Arena, the longest home winning streak in the nation.
The Ducks finished with 60 points from their bench, shot 62.5 percent for the game (40 of 64) and had 29 assists.
Oregon: Coming off their Final Four finish to last season, the Ducks will face their first opponent with a win this season in Ball State (1-2) on Sunday. Oregon’s first three opponents have started a combined 0-11.
Alabama State: The Hornets will have traveled 6,517 miles when they reach Chattanooga, Tennessee, after their first four games of the season. Their first home game is Dec. 12 against Tennessee State.
Alabama State: Continues its eight-game road trip to open the season Monday night at Chattanooga as part of the Cayman Island Classic.
Oregon: Now 54-2 against nonconference teams over eight seasons in Matthew Knight Arena, the Ducks finish a four-game opening homestand Sunday night against Ball State.
HE SAID IT
Altman, 59, had no trouble recalling career win No. 1, an 81-74 victory over Army in his coaching debut for Marshall on Nov. 24, 1989. “I was so nervous,” he said, “I remember the first time I jumped up I about passed out. That’s happened a few times and it did in that game.” Three nights later to cap the road trip, the Thundering Herd beat Virginia Tech for the first time.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Just ahead of Altman in career wins is Kansas State’s Lon Kruger, his former mentor and close friend, with 602. Altman said the topic’s never come up, even on the golf course. “He’s so much better of a player than I am, I just keep my mouth shut and take my whipping,” he said.
Bailey capped two consecutive steals for layups with a nifty behind-the-back move down the lane to beat a defender midway through the first half. Wooten matched it in the second half with his two-handed block at the rim of Gee’s driving layup attempt.