December 03, 2015

Oregon might be undefeated, but there's more than one reason for coach Dana Altman to be concerned heading into its initial game away from home.

Looking to go 7-0 for the second time in three seasons, the No. 15 Ducks face a UNLV team that's off to a solid start Friday night at the MGM Garden Arena.

Oregon averaged 78.8 points, shot 46.6 percent and held its opponents to 38.5-percent shooting from the floor while opening with six consecutive wins at Matthew Knight Arena.

"We've definitely made progress," Altman said.

In addition to being outrebounded by Arkansas State and Fresno State in the last two games, the Ducks' average of 17.0 turnovers is among the highest in the nation.

"We've got a lot of things to work on," Altman said. "Our ball-handling has got to improve tremendously."

For the third time already, the Ducks also allowed a sizable second-half cushion to almost slip away in Monday's 78-73 win over Fresno. They led by 12 at the break and by 19 with just over 14 minutes to play, but the Bulldogs shot 50 percent in the second half to outscore them by seven and make things interesting.

Oregon held a 16-point advantage in the second half of a 74-67 win over then-No. 20 Baylor on Nov. 16 and led by 10 with 5:01 left in beating Valparaiso 73-67 six days later.

"I'd like to finish games stronger," Altman said.

The Ducks will likely need a more complete effort to remain undefeated as the they play the first of three consecutive games away from the home. They should expect a stiff test against UNLV (6-1), which lost by two against UCLA in its opener of the Maui Invitational but beat then-No. 13 Indiana 72-69 two days later.

"We have a very difficult challenge against Oregon, but I'm excited moving forward," UNLV coach Dave Rice said.

Junior Ben Carter should have some extra incentive after he averaged 2.5 points and 2.4 rebounds over 62 games while playing his first two years at Oregon before transferring to UNLV following the 2013-14 season. He scored 12 points off the bench for the Ducks in their 83-79 win over the then-No. 18 Rebels in the most recent meeting Nov. 23, 2012.

Averaging 8.7 points and 6.1 rebounds, Carter has scored 26 points coming off the bench in the last two games.

"Obviously I've been looking forward to this," he said. "But I am going to go in with the same mentality I go into every game. Do whatever I can for our team and do whatever it takes to win.

"At the end of the day it's another opportunity for us to play against a ranked opponent."

Sophomore guard Patrick McCaw is shooting 21 of 45 from 3-point range and averages 19 points to lead four Rebels scoring in double figures. Freshman forward Derrick Jones has been a pleasant surprise averaging 13 points off the bench for a team that's putting up 83.6 per game.

They'll try to contain Oregon sophomore Dillon Brooks (13.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg), who recorded 21 points and 10 rebounds against Fresno State for his second double-double in the last three games.

"You have to have somebody make some plays," Altman said.

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