After racing past opponents the first week of the season, Oregon appeared flat its last time out and suffered a loss to a team from the West Coast Conference.
The 12th-ranked Ducks face another squad from that league Saturday as they look to bounce back and regain their poise when they host San Francisco.
Oregon (4-1) outscored its first four opponents by an average of 19.7 points before losing to St. Mary’s 99-87 on the road Tuesday. It was the most points the Ducks allowed to a non-conference opponent in a regular-season game since losing 101-97 to Auburn in overtime on Dec. 16, 2000 in the Las Vegas Showdown.
On Tuesday, the Ducks were unable to continue their hot shooting from their first four games and had to settle for desperation shots down the stretch. They shot a season-low 47.8 percent from the floor and finished just 7-of-24 (29.2 percent) from beyond the arc after hitting 47.0 percent (39-of-83) of their 3s in their first four games.
“The difference to me was our intensity level,” freshman Kamyron Brown said. “We didn’t come out ready to play and then we stayed at that level, thinking they would drop.”
Brown scored a career-high 20 points on Tuesday in his second straight start in place of the injured Bryce Taylor (sprained shoulder).
Taylor averaged 14.7 points in the first three games of the season, but Brown has been a pleasant surprise. He had 10 points and a career-high 10 assists in his first start last Saturday as Oregon beat Portland 85-61.
Malik Hairston finished with a season-low 12 points Tuesday, but did grab a season-high seven rebounds. Hairston, who is averaging a team-best 20.4 points, shot 5-of-11 from the field and 1-of-4 from 3-point range after connecting on 59.6 percent of his field goals and 55.6 percent (10-of-18) of his 3s in the first four games.
The Ducks now try to avoid losing consecutive non-conference games for the first time since falling at Portland and home to Portland State in December 2005. Oregon has won 12 straight non-conference games at McArthur Court since that loss to Portland State.
The Ducks had no problems with their non-conference schedule last season, cruising to 13-0 - the school’s best start since going 14-0 in 1937-38 - before suffering their first loss to Pac-10 rival Southern California on Jan. 4.
This will be the Ducks’ fourth game of the season against a WCC opponent. They beat Pepperdine 100-70 in their season opener on Nov. 10 and defeated Portland last Saturday before losing to St. Mary’s.
San Francisco (2-2) is coming off a 74-69 loss to UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday.
Sophomore forward Dior Lowhorn, a transfer from Texas Tech, had 21 points and eight rebounds against the Gauchos, and is averaging team highs of 24.0 points and 9.0 boards.
The Dons have dropped both of their games away from home this season, and have lost 13 of 14 non-conference road games since 2005-06.
San Francisco has also lost four straight against ranked opponents since beating No. 11 Gonzaga 73-70 on Jan. 20, 2005.
The Ducks and Dons haven’t met since Oregon’s 67-58 victory on Dec. 12, 1959 in the Montana State Invitational. Oregon has won six of eight meetings between the schools.