Boucher helps No. 25 Oregon beat Savannah State 75-59
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) Oregon coach Dana Altman had a simple message for his team after its third straight victory.
The Ducks aren't good enough to take plays off, regardless of the opponent, and the next one packs a wallop.
Chris Boucher scored 17 points, Elgin Cook had 12 points and eight rebounds and No. 25 Oregon beat Savannah State 75-59 on Friday night.
Dillon Brooks added 11 points for the Ducks, who led by as many as 22 after the pesky Tigers pulled within 10 midway through the second half.
''We just weren't really focused the second half,'' Altman said. ''And it's obvious from that performance that if we don't play really hard and really focused, our talent level is not good enough to carry us very far.''
Troyce Manassa led Savannah State with 15 points, and Chris Martin and Lenjo Kilo each had 11.
Boucher, who transferred to Oregon after being named junior college player of the year last season, was a force. The 6-foot-10 senior was 7 for 10 from the field and also blocked two shots and grabbed seven rebounds.
Cook helped Oregon to a 37-31 rebounding edge, but the Ducks went 11 for 24 from the free-throw line, keeping them from a larger margin of victory.
''We missed a lot of free throws, weren't in the right spots and didn't play very well,'' Altman said about the Ducks coming off an emotional upset of No. 20 Baylor on Monday night. ''It's human nature to let down a little bit, but that's what we try to fight as coaches.
''We try to get our guys to understand you have to bring it every night.''
Oregon stretched an early nine-point lead to 36-17 during an 8-minute span in the first half during which it hit 8 of 9 shots from the floor, including two 3-pointers by Dwayne Benjamin.
When Tyler Dorsey's jumper beat the buzzer, Oregon had a 42-24 halftime lead and all nine Ducks who had played had scored, led by Brooks with nine points.
''It wasn't a very strong game,'' Brooks said. ''Overall, it's a win, and we're just moving on. We're focusing on Valpo.''
Oregon coach Dana Altman said if his players thought Baylor was tough to beat, wait until the Ducks get a load of unbeaten Valparaiso on Sunday. The 5-0 Crusaders have everyone back from a 28-6 team, plus 6-foot-7 guard Shane Hammink, a transfer from LSU.
''They're a good basketball team, maybe a better basketball team than we are because they play so well,'' Altman said. ''When it's all said and done, they're going to win 30 games and they're going to be a good team, and you just hope that one of the 30 is not us.''
After using mostly a six-man rotation against Baylor, Altman spread the playing time among nine players against Savannah State. The main beneficiary was freshman guard Kendall Small, who had nine points and four assists in 23 minutes off the bench.
''I think Kendall gave us a nice burst early,'' Altman said. ''His energy was pretty good.''
Savannah State: After winning their third consecutive home game Wednesday night to start the regular season, the Tigers took off Thursday for Eugene 2,400 miles away on an ambitious four-game trip. Savannah State will play two common Oregon opponents, Baylor and Jackson State, along the way. ... Chris Martin, a graduate transfer guard from Mount St. Mary's, made 10 of 18 3-pointers through the Tigers' first three games. He was 3 of 7, including a rainbow 30-footer, against the Ducks.
Oregon: The Ducks will face their second Drew brother in three games when they host Valparaiso and coach Bryce Drew on Sunday. Oregon beat Baylor, coached by Scott Drew, last Monday. ... The Ducks started the same lineup for the third straight game. ... Oregon is halfway through a six-game homestand to begin the season.
Savannah State: Visits No. 20 Baylor on Monday.
Oregon: Hosts Valparaiso on Sunday.