MBB: No. 21 Oregon hosts Texas Southern in final game of November

Bol Bol and Payton Pritchard average a combined 34.8 points per game for the Ducks

Five games into the college basketball season and the Oregon Ducks have proven two things about themselves.

When Bol Bol and Payton Pritchard play well, Oregon is near unbeatable with a 4-0 record in those games. But when they struggle, the Ducks are 0-1, looking like a completely different team with no direction and no leadership.

Bol and Pritchard will have the chance to prove themselves again when No. 21 Oregon (4-1) hosts Texas Southern (1-4) on Monday, November 26 at 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.

The 7-foot-2 Bol leads Oregon with 19.2 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game, largely living up to the hype as the country’s No. 4 prospect in the class of 2018. But there is still progress to be made according to Oregon head coach Dana Altman.

"Bol is a terrific scorer, he was 8-for-12. I just didn't think he posted up very hard," Altman said following Oregon’s 83-72 win over Green Bay last week. "I think they pushed him around… I'm going to have to take a look at the film and see. We played him too many minutes, I don't think he's ready for 33 minutes right now."

Pritchard is the catalyst, a returning starter at point guard who was named to the all-Pac-12 second team last season. This year, he’s averaging 14.6 points, 5.0 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game, doing a good job of dictating the tempo of games and controlling the offense.

Texas Southern will enter Matthew Knight Arena on a four-game losing streak, giving up over 100 points twice in that span. The Tigers give up 89.2 points per game, tied for third-worst in the country.

Guard Jayln Patterson is Texas Southern’s best offensive player, averaging 15.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.

The Tigers’ Trayvon Reed, a 7-foot-2 center, might be the only opponent Oregon’s Bol will be able to look straight in the eye all season long. Reed is a physical presence in the paint, averaging 12 points, 11 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game, shooting 48.1-percent from the field and hitting 2-of-4 from beyond the arc.

The Ducks are now in a stretch where practice is going to be the most important part of their development considering they play just three games in 21 days, coming off a three-games-in-six-days cross-country road trip.

"From now until the 8th [of December] we need to make a lot of progress… we're not a very good basketball team, we have a lot of work to do,” Altman said. “We have to get better in practice.”

In last week’s victory over Green Bay, Oregon held the Phoenix to 38-percent shooting in the first half. But after seizing control in the second half, the Ducks’ defense let up late, allowing Green Bay to shoot 48-percent from the field.

Still, the Ducks have held all five of their opponents under 40-percent shooting for the game, including limiting Portland State and Eastern Washington to under 30-percent from the field.

"I hope we can learn from a win," said Altman. "A lot of times teams can only win from losses, I hope we can learn from a win and do a much better job."

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