Western Michigan was burned by 3-pointers in its first game, and had to contend with a barrage of long-range shots in its second. The Broncos’ defense probably won’t get a break on the perimeter against Oregon.
Led by Tajuan Porter’s sharp shooting, the 11th-ranked Ducks look to sweep the World Vision Invitational tournament as they face the Broncos on Monday night.
Porter has been the star of this tournament being hosted by Oregon (2-0), averaging 22.5 points per game. He scored 28 points to lead the Ducks to an 80-64 win over Pacific on Sunday.
Porter went 10-for-15 from the field with five 3-pointers against the Tigers, one day after registering 17 points and nine assists while making three of his team-high nine attempts from beyond the arc in a 100-70 win over Pepperdine.
The 5-foot-6, 150-pound sophomore set the school record with 110 3-pointers as a freshman last season. It was the second-most 3-pointers by a freshman in NCAA history, and his 512 points were also the most ever by an Oregon freshman.
Porter, though, also found success driving to the basket Sunday.
“That was always in my game,” Porter said. “I’m labeled as a 3-point shooter so that’s on the scouting report. I just keep the defense off balance and penetrate a little more and attack and try to get open shots.”
Porter was part of a Ducks team that made a Pac-10 record 350 3-pointers in 2006-07. They have made 45.2 percent (19-for-42) of their shots from beyond the arc so far this season.
Against Western Michigan (1-1), Oregon will be facing a team that has had to find a way to adjust to long-range shots in this tournament.
The Broncos lost their opener 90-76 to Pacific on Saturday night, with the Tigers going 9-for-14 (64.3 percent) from beyond the arc.
Western Michigan was able to bounce back with a 70-65 win over Pepperdine Sunday night, as the Waves unsuccessfully tried to exploit the Broncos’ perimeter defense. More than half of Pepperdine’s 68 attempts were 3-pointers, but it made just 18.4 percent (7-for-38) of those shots.
Porter certainly isn’t the only sharp-shooting Oregon player Western Michigan has to try to defend. Maarty Leunen and Bryce Taylor combined for 27 points and made four of their seven 3-point attempts against Pacific.
The Ducks return four players who shot over 40 percent on 3-pointers last season - Porter, Leunen, Taylor and Malik Hairston.
The Broncos, meanwhile, return all five starters from last season’s team and are the preseason favorites in the Mid-American Conference’s West Division.
Joe Reitz, who led Western Michigan with 13.9 points and 8.6 rebounds per game in 2006-07, had a strong second game. Reitz had 14 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Broncos on Sunday after being held to nine points and two rebounds against Pacific.
Reitz, a 6-foot-7 center, is Western Michigan’s tallest starter, but is facing an Oregon team that is also undersized. Leunen, at 6-9, is the Duck’s tallest regular.
Oregon has won both previous meetings against Western Michigan. This will be the first meeting since the Ducks won 91-48 on Nov. 16, 2001 at McArthur Court.