Boucher out as No. 20 Oregon hosts Fresno St. (Dec 20, 2016)

EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon junior Jordan Bell did a solid impersonation of Chris Boucher.

Bell had a career-high 16 points and a season-high 12 rebounds as Oregon defeated UNLV 83-63 on Saturday night without Boucher, the senior center who leads the Ducks with 14.1 points and 3.2 blocks per game to go with 7.8 rebounds.

“I thought Jordan really picked it up,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “I am not sure if he has had that many rebounds in a while. He had a double-double, that is a really nice game. He helped pick us up.”

The 20th-ranked Ducks (10-2) may need a repeat performance from Bell on Tuesday when they host Fresno State (8-3) at Matthew Knight Arena. The 6-foot-10 Boucher, who suffered a sprained ankle on Thursday, is not expected back until the start of conference play next week.

“I think I am getting into a groove now,” Bell said. “Things are coming easier and I am keeping it simpler. Last year, I was figuring out what to do when I came into games, but this year my role is set and I focus on that. I am rebounding, defending and blocking shots.”

Bell is also averaging a career-high 9.3 points per game.

“Every year I find a role on this team and what I need to do,” Bell said. “This year, we don’t have an inside post player so I am focusing on that.”

The Ducks have won eight straight games after early-season losses to Baylor and Georgetown.

“Everyone has problems at first with new people coming to a team that is already set,” Bell said. “Last year, we struggled and lost a couple games because it takes time to have everybody feel each other out and identify roles.”

Oregon found its groove last season when it won the Pac-12 Conference title and reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

“I think we can go further this year than last year,” Bell said. “We are way deeper this year, we can play anyone on the bench and be fine.”

Altman would like to see the Ducks improve on defense.

“You are not going to shoot well every night, so you have to guard somebody,” he said. “If you can guard, you can stay in most games. We have some talented offensive teams with Fresno State, UCLA, and USC on the horizon so our defense has to keep coming,”

Fresno State has won three games in a row — against Cal Poly, Holy Names and Pacific — but will face a much tougher test against the Ducks. The Bulldogs are 1-0 against the Pac-12 after beating Oregon State 63-58.

Senior guard Paul Watson leads Fresno State with 13.5 points per game while junior guards Jaron Hopkins and Jahmel Taylor average 13.1 and 13.0 points, respectively.