For some teams, transition basketball is the way to live. For others, like the Oregon Ducks, half-court basketball is needed to set up an offense and get better open looks.
Unlike its football team, the University of Oregon needs to slow down when the ball is in its hands.
It all starts with the aptly named Johnathon Loyd. Being the primary ball-handler, Loyd must slow down the offense to help his team score more points. Setting up an offense for graduate transfer Mike Moser and fellow guard Joseph Young is the smartest choice Loyd and coach Dana Altman can make.
The Ducks, at first, were struggling to score because of the random shots they would take in transition. Once they settled down in the Moda Center in Portland, Ore. it helped them establish what they do best, pick-and-roll and dribble-drive offenses.
The “neutral” site game against the University of Illinois Fighting Illini showed off Oregon’s talent. The 15th-ranked Ducks showcased its speed on offense in half-court sets.
There is a difference between a fast-paced half-court set and transition basketball, the Ducks need to stick to the first option. Running the floor might help get easy points, but if it’s not there, set up an offense. Early in the first half, the Ducks struggled to find its tempo.
Once Loyd and company found the tempo that best-suited their offense, the Ducks flew past the Illini. The first half was sluggish for the Ducks as they scored 32 points to combat the Illini’s 32 points. Oregon struggled against guard Tracy Abrams — 10 points, three rebounds — and had to find an answer. The answer was found, holding Abrams to six second half points.
This game was tight all the way around, but the Ducks came out on top as the victors, 71-64.
The Big Three of Loyd, Moser and Young combined for 39 points and 10 assists in the game, proving that when the Ducks slow things down, they are tough to beat.
John Lloyd is a PAC-12 Basketball Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JohnHLloydIII.