Chandler helps Oregon drop Northridge 79-56
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — In only seven minutes on the floor, Michael Chandler made a big impression in his Oregon debut on Wednesday night.
Coach Dana Altman finally unveiled his tallest player, and the 6-foot-10 center scored 13 points off the bench to help lead the Ducks to a 79-56 victory over Cal State Northridge.
Chandler, a junior college transfer from Northwest Florida College, missed the first nine games of the season with a left knee injury. He scored nine straight points in just four minutes in the second half to give Oregon (7-3) a 71-46 lead.
“He gave us a big lift,” Altman said. “Did a good job, posted up strong and guys did a really good job looking for him.
“He is a presence in there, and for the first time out not having many practices, he did a good job.”
Joseph Young led the Ducks with 18 points, and Dillon Brooks added 12. Stephan Hicks led the Matadors (3-8) with 19 points and became his school’s career scoring leader with 1,644.
Oregon, the Pac-12 leader in rebounding, had a 43-36 edge with Dwayne Benjamin grabbing 10. Stephen Maxwell had a double-double for Cal State Northridge with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The victory started a seven-game home stand for the Ducks.
The Matadors opened an early 16-9 advantage with Hicks scoring nine points for their largest lead of the game.
For Altman, his team’s slow start looked all too familiar.
“I’ve been disappointed we come out lackadaisical, straight up and down, focus and intensity not very good,” he said, “so things have got to change.”
After three ties and four lead changes, the Ducks finally broke serve on Cal State Northridge’s 2-3 zone with their favorite weapon, using two 3s by Young and another by Jalil Abdul Bassitt to take a 26-22 lead with 5 minutes left before intermission.
″(Young) was just making plays tonight,” Oregon’s Ahmaad Rorie said. “Whether it was passing or shooting, he was just doing what he’s good at. He definitely was leading tonight when we were down.”
The Ducks, who came in averaging 24 attempts beyond the arc per game, were 7 of 14 by halftime. Oregon closed out the half on a 22-10 run over the final 8 minutes for a 39-30 lead.
Oregon easily pulled away in the second half behind Chandler’s nine points and eight from Brooks, who kept his string alive as the only Duck to score in double figures in all 10 games.
Oregon, coming off a 77-70 win over Illinois, had one of its best shooting games from 3-point range, going 9 of 22 for 40.9 percent. Young led the way at 4 of 7 from long range to go with eight rebounds and four assists.
Matador big men Devonte Elliott and Tre Hale-Edmerson combined for only 10 points and five rebounds before they fouled out.
WELCOME, MR. CHANDLER
Rorie, the Ducks’ freshman point guard, liked what he saw from his new left-handed big man, though fatigue probably caused Chandler to miss a dunk from close range before exiting in the second half. “He was posting up real well, he had his hands up and he actually wanted the ball so we tried to feed him,” Rorie said. “I think he still needs to work on his conditioning, but he was playing real hard, so we’re looking forward to him being back on the team.”
MISSING THE ACTION
Wednesday’s attendance of 4,912 marked the 31st time in 76 games that Oregon’s 12,364-seat Matthew Knight Arena, which opened in 2011 during Altman’s first season, was less than half full. The $200 million facility has been sold out just six times.
Cal State Northridge: Hicks became the Matadors’ career scoring leader with a layup early in the second half but went to the bench with 11:58 left with a right leg injury before returning to add two points to his record. The previous mark was 1641 by Brian Heinle. . Maxwell’s 11 rebounds gave him 800 for his career and put him within seven of Jerry Joseph’s school record.
Oregon: Young, who came off the bench for the first time in 43 games at Oregon in last Saturday’s 77-70 win over Illinois in Chicago, was back in the starting lineup against the Matadors. . Chandler needed just one second to get into the scorebook with his first foul and another three seconds to score his first points on a reverse layup. Chandler made his first four shots from the field, including a banked jump hook.
Cal State Northridge hosts Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Saturday night.
Oregon hosts Delaware State on Saturday.