Dons detour to meet Ducks in nonconference showdown

NCAA Men's Basketball

San Francisco is taking a detour north to face Oregon for a nonconference game Thursday in Eugene.

The Dons (5-3) were scheduled to visit USC on Wednesday, but the Trojans paused their program this week after a player tested positive for COVID-19. The game wasn’t officially canceled until Tuesday, but San Francisco still had time to set up a matchup with the Ducks (4-1), who were looking to break up an 11-day gap in their schedule.

Oregon last played Saturday in a 74-71 win at Washington and wasn’t scheduled to play until Dec. 23 against visiting UCLA.

San Francisco should provide a solid test for the Ducks in their first meeting since Nov. 24, 2013, a 100-82 win by Oregon. The Ducks lead the all-time series 8-2.

The Ducks were ranked No. 20 in the preseason coaches’ poll, but dropped out after losing their season opener to Missouri.

Oregon has won four in a row following the season-opening loss to Missouri, but coach Dana Altman is eyeing a key area of improvement — 3-point accuracy. The Ducks are shooting 32.4 percent from beyond the 3-point line after making just 4 of 19 against Washington.

Altman said his players need to spend more time in the gym now that finals are over.

“We’ve got good 3-point shooters. I’m not saying great, but we’ve got good ones and they’re going to have to put some time in,” he said. “There’s no excuse not to be in the gym. I can’t force them, but they’ve got to get in there on their own and get some shots up and get ready to shoot the ball.”

The Dons own the biggest upset of the season so far, defeating then-No. 4 Virginia 61-60 on Nov. 27 in Uncasville, Conn. Three-point shooting played a big role in that win and much of San Francisco’s success this season.

The Dons were 13 for 28 from behind the arc in the win against Virginia, and have shot better than 43 percent from 3-point distance in their past four games, winning three.

San Francisco was knocked off by a 3-pointer in the 72-70 loss to California, which represented the only lead of the game for the Golden Bears.

“I thought we played well enough to win, but not well enough to guarantee victory,” San Francisco coach Todd Golden said.

–Field Level Media

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