Eugene, OR (SportsNetwork.com) - The 14th-ranked Oregon Ducks will kick off the Global Sports Challenge when they host the Pacific Tigers at Matthew Knight Arena on Friday afternoon.
The Ducks may have more of a challenge than they were expecting against the Tigers. Pacific has played in four games on the young season and has still yet to drop a decision. The most recent victory came in an 86-77 final at home against Fresno State. Pacific also won its only road contest with an 80-78 triumph over Nevada.
Oregon has a matching 4-0 record through its first four games of the year. The Ducks began the year in South Korea where they topped Georgetown (82-75) but have been home since. This contest continues a six-game homestand for the Ducks, who finish up in the finale of the Challenge on Sunday.
In terms of the all-time series, the Ducks lead 8-2. Oregon took an 80-64 victory in the last meeting during the 2007 season, for its third straight win against Pacific.
Pacific's work on the glass was a major reason it was able to top Fresno State last time out. The Tigers owned a 41-27 edge on the boards, including a 14-6 advantage in offensive rebounds. With the Tigers pulling in rebounds at such an impressive rate they also outscored the Bulldogs, 18-5, in second chance points.
Normally the Tigers don't enjoy quite so large an advantage on the glass, though they do own a +5.5 margin in that category on the season. Pacific is also scoring 79 points per game on better than 45 percent shooting from the floor for a +8.5 differential on the scoreboard.
Sama Tuku (16.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 3.8 apg) is only making 38.8 percent of his shots from the field, but he is still leading the team in scoring. Taku isn't just the best scorer on the team but also the most effective distributor and rebounder early on. Tony Gill (14.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and Andrew Bock (12.8 ppg) have been more efficient shooters, with each putting in at least 50 percent of their shots from the floor. Ross Rivera (11.2 ppg) doesn't get time as a starter but has been valuable for his contributions off the bench. Khalil Kelley (8.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg) showed more than usual against Fresno State, with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
The Ducks mixed it up with San Francisco in last time out and hot shooting carried them over the Dons, 100-82. The Ducks connected on 55 percent of their shots from the field, including an 11-of-19 showing from 3-point range.
Scoring points has been no problem for Oregon this season. The Ducks are putting in nearly 90 points per game and hitting a shade over 50 percent from the field. That includes a field-goal percentage of over 40 percent from 3- point range. Houston-transfer Joseph Young is enjoying his time as a Duck immensely, as he is leading six players in double figures with 23 points per game. Young had a down game against San Francisco with only 12 points. However, with other scoring options like UNLV-transfer Mike Moser (15.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg), Jason Calliste (10.5 ppg), Damyean Dotson (10.3 ppg), Jonathan Loyd (10.3 ppg) and Elgin Cook (10.3 ppg), there is always someone to pick up the slack.