Oregon Basketball: Backcourt proves to be lethal in opener vs. Texas Southern

Oregon's Jacob Young celebrates after the game against Texas Southern in the Duck's season opener.Eug 110921 Oregon Mbb 10
Oregon's Jacob Young celebrates after the game against Texas Southern in the Duck's season opener.Eug 110921 Oregon Mbb 10 /

Tuesday was a big day for Duck fans. Not only did they find out where the football team would be slotted in the latest CFP rankings, but Oregon basketball tipped off its 2021-22 season against Texas Southern in Eugene.

It was the first home game in front of fans in two years and it felt great to hear the crowd roaring again at Matthew Knight Arena. They did just that while watching the new-look Ducks handle Texas Southern 83-66 to improve to 1-0 on the year.

Oregon looked plenty different than it did a year ago with Chris Duarte moving on (and now starring with the Pacers) as well as Eugene Omoruyi, LG Figueroa, Chandler Lawson, Amauri Hardy, and Jalen Terry. The Ducks lost six pieces from a Sweet 16 team and it brought in five-star big man Nathan Bittle, former four-star big Isaac Johnson, Syracuse transfer Quincy Guerrier, JUCO transfer Rivaldo Soares, Oklahoma transfer De’Vion Harmon, and Rutgers transfer Jacob Young.

Six pieces out, six pieces in. The trade-off may seem lopsided because Duarte was one of the best players in college basketball last season, but the Ducks added some quality depth, especially in the backcourt.

And that backcourt depth dominated on Tuesday night against Texas Southern.

Oregon basketball may have an elite backcourt

Losing Duarte and some depth hurt, but the Ducks returned Will Richardson and brought in a few transfers who will help make the backcourt one of the best in the country.

They got off to a heck of a start on Tuesday.

While the Ducks didn’t shoot great as a team (40 percent from the floor, 33 percent from deep), the backcourt wasn’t to blame. In fact, Oregon’s four main guards (Richardson, Soares, Young, Harmon) combined to shoot 45 percent from the floor and 36 percent from 3-point range. They were also a perfect 14-for-14 from the free throw line.

This backcourt is going to be a problem for the Pac-12.

Soares is cut from the Duarte mold as he can hit the glass and he can create for himself and others. He had 10 points, five rebounds, and an assist. Young had 14 points, three rebounds, and two assists. Richardson had a team-high 20 points and four assists. And Harmon struggled with efficiency (just 4-for-15 from the floor) but still had 15 points.

I’d like to see these guys create for others a little more as they combined for nine assists and six turnovers on 26 made field goals as a team, but 59 combined points is a good start.

Just wait until these guys get more comfortable with each other.

Dana Altman has himself yet another Pac-12 title contender.

Next. 3 takeaways from Oregon's win over Washington. dark