Oregon hopes to gain some momentum as it prepares to dive full time into Pacific-12 Conference play when the Ducks host Pepperdine on Tuesday night in Eugene, Ore.
The Ducks (6-6, 0-2 in Pac-12) have rebounded with a split of games after dropping their first two Pac-12 games at home against Arizona State and at Stanford.
After the clash with the Waves, Oregon will play 18 straight in the conference, beginning Thursday at home against Colorado.
After rolling past visiting Portland 96-71, the Ducks were competitive in a 78-70 home loss to top-ranked Baylor on Saturday.
“I’m proud of the way we competed,” guard De’Vion Harmon said after the loss to the Bears. “If we have a little bit more smartness in our play, then I feel like we win the game. Great team effort. Wish we could have it back, but you’ve gotta move on.”
Harmon had 18 points and Will Richardson 16 in the loss.
Moving on from Baylor means running into Pepperdine (5-8, 0-0 in WCC), which has won three in a row after dropping six straight. The wins have come at home against San Jose State, Alabama State and Southeast Missouri State.
The early struggles were no surprise, top scorer Jan Zidek said, with the Waves having lost their two top guns from last year — Kessler Edwards and Colbey Ross — to the NBA and Europe, respectively.
“We played a lot of offense through Kessler and Colbey as playmakers,” Zidek said. “We are still going to try and keep the same philosophy of Pepperdine basketball that our coaches have taught us. It will differ a little bit, but we are determined to play our brand of basketball well.”
Helping swing things in a positive direction of late have been freshman Houston Mallette and Mike Mitchell Jr., who have earned the West Coast Conference’s last two Freshman of the Week honors.
The teams have met five times previously, with the Ducks winning four. Pepperdine has never won in three visits to Oregon.
–Field Level Media