The Oregon Ducks’ season is unblemished thus far despite having to travel to Korea in a game against Georgetown. Joseph Young had one of his best performances of the season against a vastly underrated Utah Valley State Wolverines squad. On the night, Young finished with 20 points and seven rebounds.
However, Young was not the only impressive aspect of the Ducks tonight. The Ducks’ defense held the Wolverines’ best player, Holton Hunsaker, to four points and five assists. Hunsaker, the son of head coach Dick Hunsaker, missed his first five shots from the floor and ended up going 2-of-10 from the floor. The one bright spot for the Wolverines was Idaho-born Mitch Bruneel, who finished with 15 points and three rebounds.
The Ducks struggled in the first half, and Young and point guard Jonathon Loyd carried them. Loyd and Young look to be the guys that will set the tone in the PAC-12 Conference.
The undefeated Ducks will look to keep their streak alive against UC-San Francisco in their next game. So far, the Ducks have exceeded expectations even with one of their best players sidelined due to a suspension. No one would have expected the Ducks to play this well in their first nine games without Dominic Artis.
The PAC-12 Conference is top-heavy with its strength, and Oregon, along with UCLA, Arizona and Cal, all have a great shot to win it. If the Ducks can play defense like tonight, they are going to cause some headaches to the best coaches in the conference.
Defense is rare in the PAC-12, even in football, and Oregon looks like it has the best. On the night, the Ducks held the Wolverines to 38 percent shooting from the floor and 25 percent from the 3-point line; the defense also forced 14 turnovers. Stingy defense will keep you in games especially when the other offense struggles, and Oregon’s defense will keep them afloat when Artis is suspended.
Also, the duo of Young and Loyd will keep them floating in the air until Artis comes back. With the strong defense and offensive output of Young and Loyd, the Ducks will stay undefeated until its first real test in Ole Miss on December 8.
John Lloyd is a PAC-12 College Basketball for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JohnHLloydIII