Ducks' downturn leads to matchup with Vols
Oregon fell from No. 4 to No. 13 in the Associated Press poll this week, and the Ducks may depart the Top 25 next week.
After losing to unranked Baylor last week, the Ducks fell 65-61 to unranked Georgetown in the first round of the Maui Invitational on Monday. The Ducks (2-2) went into the consolation bracket to face Tennessee (1-2) on Tuesday.
Oregon hoped to face No. 16 Wisconsin in the second round and maybe No. 4 North Carolina in the title game, but it instead faces the Volunteers in an early-morning matchup.
“It doesn't matter because we are unranked now, so we don't have to worry about that,” Ducks coach Dana Altman said. “I don't know who the heck we think we are. We are unranked, so we just have to go play. We better get guys to step up and play a lot better. If we don't make some adjustments and play fundamentally sound, things won't go well for us (Tuesday) either.”
Oregon fell behind Georgetown 38-21 at halftime and rallied to take a 43-42 lead before losing the game.
“We've got to have energy to start the game,” Ducks guard Casey Benson said. “It was a big comeback, but we did not finish it off. That's kind of the way it went.”
The good news for Oregon was that all-Pac-12 junior forward Dillon Brooks returned against the Hoyas after missing three games following offseason foot surgery. He had eight points in just 13 minutes off the bench as he works his way back into the lineup.
“It's good to have his passion on the floor,” Altman said. “He's trying to do a lot of things. We held him to the 10 or 15 minutes that we thought we'd play him, and he was mad because he wanted to play more. We are going to stick with the plan that we have for him.”
Tennessee fell behind Wisconsin 12-0 before rallying to take a 46-44 lead, but then lost by 12.
“As you would expect with so many young guys, we came out a little bit jumpy to start the game,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. “I thought we showed terrific mental toughness fighting back against an experienced team.”
Guard Shembari Phillips led the Volunteers with 16 points against the Badgers. Guards Robert Hubbs III and Detrick Mostella added 12 points apiece.
“It was very encouraging,” Phillips said. “As people know, we are a young team so we had to fight back through some adversity today.”
Through their first two games — an 82-69 loss to Chattanooga and a 103-94 victory over Appalachian State — the Volunteers had five players averaging in double figures: guard Jordan Bone (14 points per game), Hubbs (13.5), guard Lamonte Turner (13.5), forward Grant Williams (10.5) and forward Kyle Alexander (10). Phillips' average is up to 11.7 after his performance against Wisconsin.
Hubbs is a senior. The Vols' five other top scorers are all either freshmen or sophomores.