Oregon is back home.
Four days after defeating then-ranked No. 15 Syracuse 80-65 at Madison Square Garden, the Ducks (3-1) will finish out the 2K Empire Classic with a game against Green Bay (3-2). Tipoff is set for 10 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.
No. 21 Oregon went 1-1 in New York, being dismantled 77-69 by Iowa before the resounding win over Syracuse.
“I was really disappointed in the way we prepared for Iowa, we were lacking energy and there is no excuse for that,” Oregon head coach Dana Altman said. “I thought we did a good job getting ready (for Syracuse) and collectively we were more energetic the whole day getting ready for that game… hopefully we learned something there.”
Freshman Bol Bol had an up and down two games in the Big Apple, being largely ineffective in the opener despite his 7-foot-2 height and skill level before showcasing his potential on Friday night.
He finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and five blocks against the Hawkeyes, ending his consecutive double-double streak at two. However, he rebounded with a dominating 26 points (11-for-17 shooting), nine rebounds and four blocks against the Orangemen, causing havoc in the middle of Syracuse’s patented 2-3 zone.
"He's a unique talent… he's going to grow into a special player — you saw him shoot the 3, you saw him handle it, he made some nice passes,” Altman said of Bol after the win over Syracuse. “You saw that soft touch (against) that zone, the little jump hooks and that ball just lays on the rim. He's got a very soft touch for 7-foot-2."
Bol will have to continue his improved play when Green Bay comes to Matthew Knight Arena.
The Phoenix took Iowa into overtime just over a week ago before succumbing 93-82. Since then, they have won two straight with victories over Eastern Washington and Morehead State.
Sandy Cohen III leads Green Bay in about every major category with 13.6 points, seven rebounds and six assists per game. The 6-foot-6 guard is shooting 49.1-percent from the field and 35-percent from beyond the arc, showcasing his ability to get to the rim and knock down shots from deep.
JayQuan McCloud is the sharpshooter of the group, averaging 13.6 points per game while knocking down 45.8-percent of his three-pointers. In his most recent game against Morehead State, McCloud scored 23 points while making five three-pointers.
“They are very talented, I like their athleticism and their quickness,” Altman said. “They have a deep group and play about 10 or 12 guys — they go man-to-man press the full game, so we are going to have to play well.”
One of those players who needs to play well is point guard Payton Pritchard, the catalyst of the Ducks.
He’s had an up-and-down start to the season, averaging 13.8 points and five assists per game. Pritchard is shooting just 30-percent from beyond the arc, way below last season’s 42-percent mark.
“We do need to get Payton more shots,” Altman said. “His numbers in practice and going back to last year he shot 42-percent on three-pointers and he has been better than that in practice.”
Against Iowa, Pritchard had one of his worst shooting games ever as Duck. He finished with five points on 1-of-9 shooting, including a 0-for-4 mark from three-point territory. However, he did finish with six rebounds and five assists, showcasing his ability to be more than just a scorer for Oregon.