Illinois-Oregon Preview

The Associated Press

Few teams in college basketball have a more efficient or more balanced offensive attack than No. 15 Oregon.

The Ducks could face one of their toughest tests so far this season when they take on Illinois, one of the better defensive teams in the country, in Portland on Saturday night.

Oregon (8-0) ranks among the highest-scoring teams in the country with 91.4 points per game. It defeated Ole Miss 115-105 in overtime Sunday, with six Ducks scoring in double figures.

Oregon has six players averaging between 20.1 and 10.3 points. It ranks in the top 10 nationally in shooting percentage at 52.9 percent and from behind the 3-point line at 43.8.

Point guard Johnathan Loyd's 7.4 assists per game place him in the top five in the county. Against the Rebels, he had 23 points and 15 assists.

"As a cast, we've really taken the pressure off each other," forward Mike Moser told the team's official website.

"It's always a really balanced box score at the end of the game."

Moser, a transfer from UNLV, is second on the team with 15.0 points per game.

Fellow transfer Joseph Young, who previously played at Houston, has led the way for the Ducks by averaging 20.1 points and 53.9 percent from the field, including 48.6 from 3-point range.

"We've got guys that can finish plays," coach Dana Altman said. "This season has a long ways to go, and it'll be interesting to see how they continue to work together. But I like the way we're sharing the ball, and we do have a number of guys that can finish plays."

Illinois (9-1) is led offensively by Rayvonte Rice at 17.9 points per game, but it's largely outstanding defense that has allowed the Illini to get off to their fast start. They're allowing 59.3 points a contest, among the lowest in the nation.

Illinois, though, has been plagued by poor play after halftime recently. It's been either outscored or tied by its opponent in the final 20 minutes of the past three games, the most recent being a 72-65 win over Dartmouth on Wednesday.

The Illini were outscored 38-33 after the break, and coach John Groce wants to see his team do a better job of closing out games.

"We've got to close better than what we did," Groce said. "We've got to execute better. All of us have to take a look at that and we have to improve in that area."

These schools have met four times with Illinois winning all of them, including two games in Portland.

The Illini have dropped four in a row to ranked teams.

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