Oregon basketball opened the first round of the National Invitation Tournament hosting a team they played in the UC Irvine Anteaters. The Ducks lost their second game of the season 69-56, but would look for redemption in the NIT. They would have to do it without three starters. N’Faly Dante, Will Richardson, and Jermaine Couisnard were all on the bench with injuries.
On Wednesday night, the result was a 84-58 win for Oregon.
The Ducks would see some experience on the floor in the first half with Quincy Guerrier. In the first half, Oregon shot 34 percent while holding UC Irvine to just 20 percent shooting from the floor. The Anteaters were almost held without a three-point basket in the first half going a dreadful 1 of 13 from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.
Oregon never let their second half lead fall into single digits. With under five minutes left, the Ducks hit their tenth three point shot of the game while holding UC Irvine to just 4 of 22 from distance. In the closing minutes of the game, Oregon found their shooting again hitting a perfect 5 for 5 from the floor.
Three Ducks scored in double figures. Rivaldo Soares led the way with 21. Nate Bittle finished with 17 and Tyrone Williams had a double double with 12 points and 11 rebounds in just 23 minutes in the game.
Oregon was able to find efficiency without three key players in the lineup and will move on to a second round game in the NIT. The victory also notches the 20th win of the season for the Ducks, which is a Dana Altman standard since he has been with the team. Despite the adversity, this team was able to scratch and claw their way to the 20 win mark.
The Ducks as the number one seed will host UCF on Sunday. Tipoff is set for 4:30 pm Pacific Time.