Oregon struggles in 78-64 loss to No. 7 Vanderbilt

Blending nine newcomers and opening the season on the road

against a Top 10 team proved to be too much for the Oregon


Tony Woods scored 12 points, and E.J. Singler and Brett Kingma

added 10 apiece as the Ducks opened their second season under coach

Dana Altman with a 78-64 loss to No. 7 Vanderbilt on Friday


The Ducks are 0-4 when opening the season against a ranked

opponent. They outshot Vanderbilt from the field hitting 49.1

percent (26 of 53) compared to 40.9 percent (27 of 66) but didn’t

help themselves at the free throw line where they made just 6 of

17. They also turned it over 20 times, and Altman was worried about

this game after a couple of poor practices.

”I don’t think our guys were confident coming into this game,”

Altman said. ”When you don’t practice, don’t do a good job of

preparing day in and day out like you need to, you can’t expect to


The Ducks are coming off winning the Collegiate Basketball

Invitational to go 21-18 in Altman’s first season. But he’s working

together almost a new roster featuring five transfers. Jeremy Jacob

played only 17 games last season due to a knee injury, and top

scorer Joevan Catron is gone.

Kingma said the Ducks will get everything figured out.

”I’m not worried, I know guys are going to pick it up,” he

said. ”This loss hurts, but you just got to take care of the


The Ducks ran into a Vanderbilt team that hadn’t been ranked in

the preseason since November 1993 when they were No. 23, and they

haven’t been ranked this high since 1965 when they were fifth.

John Jenkins scored 24 points, Jeffery Taylor added 21 and 11

rebounds and Brad Tinsley 13 as the Commodores took control with an

18-0 run over the final 2:33 of the first half and the first few

minutes of the second.

Oregon led by as many as six points early and didn’t go down


Vanderbilt led by 20 with 13:36 to go, but Oregon came back with

14 straight points. The Ducks got as close as 62-57 on a jumper by

Kingma with 5:09 left. Taylor answered by putting back his own miss

with 4:41 left, then Jabari Brown had a turnover at midcourt.

Johnathan Loyd missed both free throws, then Taylor hit a jumper to

start a 12-0 run to seal the win.

This is the first time in his 13 seasons that coach Kevin

Stallings has had all five starters back at Vanderbilt, but he will

be without center Festus Ezeli for up to eight weeks after the

senior sprained his right knee late last month. Ezeli had been

suspended for the first six games by the NCAA for accepting a meal

and a hotel room from an alumnus during the summer.

”It’s obviously a significant thing for us not to have him,”

Stallings said. ”But we don’t have him, and we’re not going to

have him for a while. So we can’t sit around and lament what it

means not to have Festus. We have to play better, and we have to

play without him and make up for that. And we did. We played


The Commodores struggled early despite the sellout crowd. The

Ducks hit eight of their first 10 shots and led by as much as 18-12

on Kingma’s 3-pointer with 12:18 left. Jenkins, the Southeastern

Conference’s leading scorer last season, missed his first four

shots before hitting his fifth 3 with 6:59 left to put Vandy up

22-20. He wound up 7 of 16 from 3-point range.

Stallings knows Altman well from their days when he was at

Illinois State and Altman coached at Creighton. Stallings said

Altman didn’t play any zone in two exhibitions, and he credited the

Ducks’ zone with bothering his Commodores. He thought he had them


Jenkins said he had a bit of nerves early too.

”As soon as we started moving the ball and moving around we got

used to it and shots started falling,” Jenkins said. ”We got in

the middle, we got kick-outs for 3s, and we got them to foul on us

a little bit, so that was good.”

Stallings didn’t worry about Jenkins missing early.

”I live with all his misses because I know makes are right

around the corner,” Stallings said.

Oregon last led 29-26 when Garrett Sim hit the first of two free

throw attempts with 3:17 remaining. The Ducks didn’t score the rest

of the half.

Freshman Kedren Johnson scored on a layup with 2:33 left to

start the 16-0 run. Taylor hit two free throws to put Vandy back up

30-29. Jenkins added another 3, and Henderson hit two free throws

for a 35-29 halftime lead.

Taylor picked up in the second half where Vandy left off with a

basket, and Jenkins hit a 3-pointer 57 seconds into the half for a

40-29 lead. Tinsley added a layup off the fast break as the

Commodores forced Oregon into five turnovers within the first 3

minutes. Taylor’s layup capped the 18-0 run with 18:02


By the time Jenkins hit another 3 with 14:15 to go, Vandy led

53-35, and Henderson tipped in a missed free throw by Dai-Jan

Parker for the Commodores’ biggest lead, 55-35 with 13:36