Dorsey, Benjamin spark Oregon past Jackson State, 80-52
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) Oregon may have found an early clubhouse leader for its new go-to scorer after Tyler Dorsey needed only one half of his Duck debut to stake his claim.
Dorsey, a 6-foot-4 freshman guard from Los Angeles, scored 18 of his team-high 20 points by halftime to lead Oregon to an 80-52 non-conference victory over Jackson State on Friday night.
Dwayne Benjamin added 16 points off the bench for the Ducks, but it was Dorsey who grabbed the early spotlight by hitting all five of his first-half attempts, including four spot-up 3-pointers, in the season opener for both teams. Dorsey also had five assists and five rebounds.
Many of the preseason questions for Oregon coach Dana Altman concerned who would replace the scoring punch of departed Pac-12 player of the year Joseph Young, now a rookie point guard with the NBA's Indiana Pacers.
For one night at least, Dorsey was the answer.
''He really shot the ball well in the first half,'' Altman said. ''I really liked his patience.''
For his part, Dorsey said it was simply a matter of his teammates being ready from the start and working hard to find the open man.
''We came out with a lot of intensity,'' he said. ''If we play the way coach wants us to play and execute what he wants, we can be really good.''
Dorsey was exactly that in the first 12 minutes with 14 points and four assists. Benjamin, the 6-7 sixth man for the Ducks, said it was a case of his new teammate being right at home on the court.
''He was in the right spots in the offense,'' Benjamin said, ''and we know he'll make the plays when he's in the right spots.''
Dorsey even had the right touch when asked if he was the Ducks' new No. 1 scoring threat.
''I don't have anything to say about replacing Joe Young,'' he said. ''I'm just out there trying to play hard every possession.''
Benjamin punctuated Oregon's blazing 62.5 percent shooting in the first half with a rainbow 3-pointer from beyond half-court before the buzzer for a 46-30 lead.
Paris Collins led all scorers with 21 points for Jackson State, capped by a breakaway dunk with 1:24 left to play. Chace Franklin added 11 points for the Tigers.
Altman went nine deep with his rotation with his team on a 100-point pace after 10 minutes as the Ducks never trailed. He cleared his bench in the second half after the lead ballooned to a high of 34 points.
Elgin Cook also had 11 points for Oregon and Dillon Brooks, who didn't score in the first half, finished with 10. Brooks led the Ducks to a 38-33 edge in rebounds with six, and Treshawn Bolden had 10 to lead Jackson State.
Altman said he liked what he saw on offense in the first half, with 11 assists leading to 15 field goals, but he wasn't pleased with how the Ducks finished, shooting only 37 percent in the second half and with 16 turnovers overall.
''In the second half our ball movement wasn't as good,'' he said. ''We had some guys hunting some shots and I thought we didn't play as well offensively.''
In the locker room after the game, Altman also had issues with his team's rebounding and defense, Benjamin said, with a visit from No. 22 Baylor coming Monday night.
''Everyone on our team can score,'' Benjamin said. ''We've got to rebound the ball better. We only outrebounded them by five tonight and we had a higher goal than that, so we need to work on that.
''That's our main goal, rebounding and defending.''
Despite some poor 3-point shooting in two exhibition games, Oregon coach Dana Altman said long-range shooting was the least of his concerns. The Ducks proved him right Friday night, making 7 of 12 in the first half alone, capped by Dwayne Benjamin's feathery 55-foot lob that barely ruffled the net just before the buzzer. ''I knew I was going to make it, as soon as it came off my hands it felt good, but I didn't know it was going to be that good,'' Benjamin said. ''Probably the best shot I've made in my life.'' The Ducks finished 10 of 24 on 3-pointers.
ONE BEARISH VIEW
Altman had a blunt assessment about facing No. 22 Baylor coming off Friday night's performance. ''We're not ready for that, I'll just be real honest'' he said. ''They're maybe the best rebounding team in the country, or one of a handful. We have a couple days to get focused on it, but it will be a big challenge for us.''
Oregon: The victory was the 18th straight for the Ducks in season openers. . Dillon Brooks, the team's second-leading returning scorer at 11.5 points per game as a freshman, didn't attempt a shot in the first half of his 34th career start. He finished with 10 points. . The Ducks are 76-13 in Matthew Knight Arena, which opened on Jan. 13, 2011, during coach Dana Altman's first season at Oregon. Friday's announced attendance was 5,577.
Jackson State: The Tigers will play their first five games away from home, including a Nov. 20 visit to No. 22 Baylor. Jackson State will host only four of its first 13 games before starting Southwestern Athletic Conference play in January. . After shooting 37.9 percent from the field in the first half, the Tigers were just 2 of 17 during the first 10 minutes of the second half. . Lindsey Hunter IV, whose father is a former Jackson State star and 17-year NBA point guard, did not play Friday. He's wearing his father's No. 11.
Oregon hosts No. 22 Baylor on Monday.
Jackson State plays at Southern Miss on Tuesday.