Oregon looks for its fifth win in the past six games Saturday against Portland in an in-state basketball battle in Eugene, Ore.
The Ducks (6-5) have faced four Top 25 teams in nonconference play so far this season and have lost all four games, but have a chance to go into Pac-12 play at the end of the month on a four-game winning streak if they can get by Portland as well as Utah Valley of the Western Athletic Conference.
Both games are prior to Christmas.
Brennan Rigsby, who scored a season-high 19 points in Oregon’s 71-65 win over UC Riverside on Wednesday, is rounding into form after starting the season injured. He missed all but Oregon’s last four games.
The Ducks’ top two scorers this season have been guard Will Richardson and center N’Faly Dante, but Oregon is currently without four players due to injury. Two transfers expected to have large roles this season are out, Jermaine Couisnard (knee surgery) and Keeshawn Barthelemy (left foot).
Oregon used just eight players against UC Riverside and none of the injured players are expected back before its Pac-12 schedule starts.
“I think we’re a pretty optimistic group. We’re battling every day. With some of the injuries, it sucks. And now we’re getting hit with some sickness. But the biggest thing is, we’re just battling every day,” Rigsby told the school’s athletics website.
Portland (8-5) has won three of its last four games, and before that, the Pilots of the West Coast Conference upset Villanova, took then-top ranked North Carolina down to the wire in an 89-81 defeat and lost by one, 78-77, to then-No. 12 Michigan State.
Portland scored 100 points in a 39-point win over New Orleans last Saturday, but have not played since then.
The Pilots are led by Tyler Robertson, who is averaging 15.6 points per game and is coming off a 15-point, 15-assist double-double in which he set the single-game school record for assists.
“I was just glad our team bounced back,” Robertson said afterward. “Obviously, there were some personal accolades that were recorded here but I’m just glad to get a big home win.”
–Field Level Media