EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Bouncing back for a home split on the opening weekend of Pac-12 play gave Oregon coach Dana Altman cause for optimism.
But his young Ducks, still smarting from a 10-point loss to Utah, have a long way to go as they hit the conference road for the next two weeks.
Troy Brown had a season-high 21 points and seven rebounds, and Elijah Brown added 17 points to help lead Oregon to a 77-62 victory over Colorado on Sunday night.
“Our energy level was much better,” Altman said. “We had some really good stretches defensively.
“I think there’s still a lot more defensively, but it was a big step from the other night because just our activity and our energy was much better.”
Kenny Wooten had 13 points and seven rebounds for the Ducks (11-4, 1-1 Pac-12). Payton Pritchard added 12 points.
The Buffaloes (8-6, 0-2) were led by Namon Wright with 20 points, and McKinley Wright had 13 points and seven assists.
Wooten started off strong after not attempting a field goal and going scoreless in the Utah loss. The freshman made all four of his shots and is now hitting a conference-best 76.5 percent from the field.
“Kenny’s been solid,” Altman said. “We haven’t been getting him the ball enough and he never calls for it.
“He’s got to start calling for the ball and making those guys throw it to him. . He’s giving us so many things, we’ve got to give him the ball every now and then.”
Colorado outrebounded Oregon 32-30 but finished with 20 turnovers and a season-low eight free-throw attempts.
The Ducks’ press fueled a 13-2 run, after Buffaloes had pulled within four points early in the second half, to open a 52-37 lead. Colorado trailed by double figures the rest of the way.
Altman puts such a premium on defense that even the freshmen are used to his hollering for them to get back while they’re still on offense.
“We tend to get caught up on making baskets and forget to get back on D,” Wooten said, “so he (Altman) tries to put an emphasis on getting back even before the ball goes through the net.
“That’s just what coach Altman does.”
Troy Brown, a freshman, and Elijah Brown, a graduate transfer, combined to shoot 13 of 22 from the field as Oregon…