Dorsey scores 21 as No. 5 Oregon beats Army 91-77 in opener
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) Oregon coach Dana Altman had a great start to the season Friday – in more ways than one.
After signing a new seven-year contract and three highly ranked high school recruits, Altman found a sold-out crowd of 12,364 eager to witness the beginning of his seventh season with the Ducks.
Tyler Dorsey scored 21 points and freshman Payton Pritchard added 15 in his debut as No. 5 Oregon opened with a 91-77 victory over Army.
''We've done some good things and been very fortunate with a good group of guys,'' said Altman, whose $18.45 million deal runs through the 2022-23 season. ''The crowd was fantastic and so were the students.''
Oregon's previous high during its first five openers at Matthew Knight Arena was 6,262 fans three years ago.
After leading by 20 points in the first half, the Ducks allowed the Cadets to close within nine three times before pulling away late on free throws. Oregon finished 28 of 34 at the line.
Jordan Bell and Chris Boucher each had 14 points and eight rebounds for the Ducks, who struggled offensively at times with preseason All-America forward Dillon Brooks still sidelined following offseason foot surgery.
''We did a lot of good things early,'' Altman said. ''I was disappointed with our defense, especially in transition, in the second half.
''We've got a tremendous amount of work to do, but I told our guys that Army was going to play really hard, and they did.''
The Ducks matched their arena record with 13 blocked shots, including six by Bell. Oregon reserve Roman Sorkin added four to go with his 12 points, both career highs.
Oregon shot 45 percent, including 12 of 23 in the second half, though sixth-year senior Dylan Ennis, coming off a medical redshirt season, went scoreless while missing all eight shots from the field in his first start for the Ducks.
''Dylan's not playing to his strengths and he's got a lot of work to do,'' Altman said. ''He's too casual with the ball. He sat out 30 games and he's trying to make that up in one or two nights.''
Kennedy Edwards led Army with 17 points and Matthew Wilson added 10. The Cadets shot 39.4 percent and were 9 of 24 on 3-pointers.
Oregon finished with a 42-30 edge in rebounds.
Oregon: The Ducks won their 19th consecutive home opener to run their school-record home winning streak to 26 games, fifth-longest in the nation. The crowd was the largest for an Oregon home opener.
Army: The Cadets, with five new starters, were picked 10th in the Patriot League after finishing tied for fourth at 9-9 last season and going 18-12 overall.
Oregon's No. 5 preseason ranking, its highest ever, could rise in the next poll after No. 3 Kansas lost in overtime to No. 11 Indiana. The other three teams ranked above the Ducks easily won their openers on Friday.
After Army pulled within nine for the last time, Oregon closed out the game by scoring 11 of its last 14 points at the foul line. The Ducks made their first 10 free throws, starting with two four-point plays.
Bell, a 6-foot-9 junior who is already Oregon's career leader in blocks, had six more, including part of a three-play sequence that had fans out of their seats in the second half. After taking a lob pass for a dunk, Bell swatted a shot at the other end, then a teammate found him wide open beyond the arc and he let fly, missing his third career 3-point try. He thought it was going in. ''I did, man,'' Bell said. ''I was feeling it. I was really feeling it.''
Army returns to West Point to play Mount Saint Mary on Tuesday and Arkansas State next Saturday as Jimmy Allen looks for his first win as head coach.
Oregon opens its road schedule Tuesday at Baylor, which lost to the Ducks 74-67 in Eugene last season. Oregon then hosts Valparaiso in another non-conference rematch on Thursday.