Oregon (9-1) at Texas-El Paso (3-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 19, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Don Haskins Center (12,222) -- El Paso, Texas. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: Oregon 8-0, UTEP 3-1. Away Record: Oregon 1-0, UTEP 0-1. Neutral Record: Oregon 0-1, UTEP 0-3. Conference Record: Oregon 0-0, UTEP 0-0. Series Record: Oregon leads, 1-0.
GAMES NOTES: The streaking Oregon Ducks head on the road for a contest with a Texas-El Paso squad coming off a tough loss on Wednesday night at the Don Haskins Center
Winners of their last four games, the Ducks have been one of the hottest teams in the country entering play at 9-1 overall. That record is largely due to the Ducks' 8-0 mark at home this year with just two games away from Matthew Knight Arena. In its only other true road game the Ducks bested then No. 18 UNLV 83-79. Oregon's only loss came against then No. 23 Cincinnati in a neutral site contest in Las Vegas. This is a one-game road trip for Oregon which returns to Eugene to face Houston Baptist on Saturday.
UTEP nearly earned an upset win over UNLV as well on Monday but fell 62-60 when Konner Tucker's 3-point attempt at the buzzer was off the mark. The loss came on the heels of consecutive victories for the Miners, who are in the midst of a seven-game homestand that continues against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday. Overall the Miners are just 3-5 this season but 3-1 at the Don Haskins Center. Close games have been the norm for UTEP recently with its last three games decided by a total of seven points.
Last November these teams met for the first time. In that contest it was the Ducks who came away victorious with a 64-59 win at Matthew Knight Arena.
For the second straight game Oregon held a team to under 40 points when it routed Nebraska 60-38 on Saturday. The Ducks limited the Cornhuskers to just 30.6 percent shooting and had 10 more field goals than Nebraska. The Ducks also dominated on the boards (41-25) thanks in large part to Arsalan Kazemi who recorded his 47th career double-double with 10 points and 17 rebounds.
It's no surprise that Oregon has been scoring in bunches this season as the Ducks were a strong offensive squad last year. Oregon is scoring 77.5 points per game and connecting on 47.9 percent of their shots from the field. Each of those marks are among the top 40 nationally and near the top of the Pac-12 conference. The Ducks have also enjoyed a rather lopsided advantage on the boards (+10.1) by collecting 39.5 rebounds per game. On the defensive end the Ducks have been a bit more surprising as they hold teams to just 60.1 points on 39.5 percent shooting on average. No one scorer stands out for the Ducks with all five starters scoring at least nine points per game but no more than 11.0. Damyean Dotson (11.0 ppg) is the lead scorer while E.J. Singler (10.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg), Tony Woods (10.6 ppg) and Dominic Artis (10.2 ppg) are all scoring in double figures as well. Kazemi (9.4 ppg, 10.2 rpg) has enjoyed a strong campaign since transferring from Rice this past off-season and has recorded a pair of double-doubles as a Duck.
After trailing by as many as 15 points in the second half against UNLV, the Miners whittled the lead down to two points (62-60) with 34 seconds remaining on a layup from Jacques Streeter. UTEP then had a chance to tie or win the game in the final seconds after a pair of missed field goals from UNLV but Tucker's last second shot missed. Julian Washburn had a team-high in points (13) and rebounds (8) in the losing effort.
UTEP is nowhere near the offensive team that Oregon is. The Miners are scoring only 57.1 points per game and hitting on 43.1 percent of their shots from the field. Each of those marks is among the worst in Conference USA. The Miners don't score a lot in part because of how infrequently they shoot from beyond the arc. The team has attempted the third fewest shots from long distance (90) nationally and hit only 28 of those. Also a weak point is the Miners efforts on the boards (26.4 ppg) as the team ranks third worst nationally in rebounding. The Miners have managed to keep teams close by allowing 63.4 points per game on 45.5 percent shooting. Washburn (12.1 ppg) is one of very few reliable scoring options for the Miners but shoots at a unremarkable 39.2 percent from the field. John Boahannon (11.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg) is more reliable at 58.5 percent shooting and is the only player on the roster topping out at more than five rebounds per game.
The Ducks have been playing exceptionally well on both ends of the floor. Oregon can score and rebound with equal effectiveness and will be far too much for UTEP to handle, even on its home floor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oregon 79, Texas-El Paso 66
12/19 10:41:09 ET