Fresno St.-Oregon Preview
Coach Dana Altman mainly relies on a six-man rotation to carry Oregon, with each player knowing their role in the offense could change from game to game.
The 15th-ranked Ducks don't seem to mind.
Oregon looks to move to 6-0 on Monday night when it hosts a Fresno State team off to its best start in nine years.
Five players are averaging at least 12 points, and starting guard Casey Benson chips in 5.8 per game while acting as a floor general for a Ducks offense scoring 79.0 points per contest.
Freshman Tyler Dorsey's 15.2 average leads the squad, but he's yet to attempt more than nine shots in a game. It was Dwayne Benjamin's turn to step up Wednesday, coming off the bench to match a career high with 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting in a 91-68 victory over Arkansas State.
Chris Boucher had 17 points, nine rebounds and a school-record nine blocks, while Dorsey added 15 points and Elgin Cook finished with 13. Dillon Brooks scored 26 points in a win over Valparaiso in Oregon's previous contest but finished with four Wednesday.
“We all know any given day it might not be your scoring day,” said Benjamin, who went scoreless in 19 minutes against Valpo. “With our versatility, we can do a lot of things. If we're not scoring, do other things. We don't really worry about who's scoring. We worry about making plays for the team. I think that's the best thing about this group.”
Altman especially was impressed with the effort from Boucher, a 6-foot-10 junior college transfer who is still adjusting to the more physical nature of Division I. He's shooting 57.9 percent and ranks among the nation's leaders with 21 blocks.
''He is fearless,'' Altman said. ''His length is unique. He can get shots from a long way away and he's not afraid to go after them.''
Fresno State has blocked only 23 shots as a team while going 5-0, its best start since winning its first seven of 2006-07.
Cezar Guerrero scored 20 points and Marvelle Harris added 17 in Friday's 80-59 rout of Delaware State. Guerrero hit 5 of 9 from the field and has made 13 of 21 from 3-point range over his last three.
“He's been in the gym and put time in,” coach Rodney Terry said of Guerrero, who is shooting 52.5 percent from the floor after not hitting better than 43.5 percent over his first three seasons. “I said to the guys, 'You're going to get what you invest in this game. If you invest in the game and you work then you'll see positive results.' Cezar has seen that the last couple of games, the ball going through the net because he's put the time in.”
Fresno State has scored at least 78 points in each of its last four, but it could face a tougher test against a Ducks team allowing 62.6 per game while holding opponents to 38.0 percent from the field.
“They're obviously a high level opponent for us and we know we have our work cut out for us,” Terry said. “Like I tell these guys right now, we have faceless opponents. So much about this time of the year is us getting better, on both ends of the floor.”
Oregon has won all four meetings since Fresno State's last victory in the series in 1995.
- Casey Benson
- Cezar Guerrero
- Chris Boucher
- Dillon Brooks
- Elgin Cook
- Fresno State Bulldogs
- Marvelle Harris
- Oregon Ducks