By Ken McMillan
Jimmy Allen didn’t get a victory in his debut as Army men’s basketball coach but he discovered a fighting spirit with his young and inexperienced club.
The Black Knights gave No. 5 Oregon a bit of a scare late in the second half before dropping a 91-77 decision to the Ducks before 12,364 fans in Eugene.
Army went into halftime trailing 49-31 but used a 6-for-8 effort from 3-point range to open the second half and cut the margin to 73-64.
Oregon, the preseason favorite in the Pac 12 Conference, shot 52 percent from the field in the second half and used 13 blocks to keep Army at bay.
“I was happy with how our guys competed and how our guys responded to some adversity there in the first half,’’ said Allen, who served the last six seasons as assistant and associate head coach under former head coach Zach Spiker. “We had a stretch where we didn’t do things well. We were getting open shots so we were doing good things from an offensive standpoint but we weren’t knocking them down. In the second half … I was happy with how we responded with the limited experience that we have.’’
Kennedy Edwards had a foul-plagued first half and was limited to just four minutes. He scored 15 of his team-high 17 points after the break.
“He’s going to give me a headache,’’ Allen mused. “He is typically a slow starter. He was a little more than a slow starter .. he was starting backwards with a couple fouls. Some things he needed to do a little better. He is capable … once he kind of gets going he is a confident player.’’
Freshman Matt Wilson had 10 points in his collegiate debut. Jordan Fox and John Emezie each had nine. Nine Army players posted at least five points.
Tyler Dorsey scored 21 points to lead Oregon (1-0). Pritchard scored 15, Jordan Bell and Chris Boucher each had 14 and Roman Sorkin added 12. All-star Dillon Brooks did not play.
The Ducks shot 45 percent and Army 39 percent. Each team had nine 3-pointers, though Army started the game at 2-for-14 from beyond the arc.
The teams combined for 50 personal fouls (Army had 27), though no one was disqualified. Edwards, Thomas Funk, Jacob Kessler and Mac Hoffman finished with four fouls apiece.
Army will host NCAA Division III Mount Saint Mary on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
“We learned a lot about our team,’’ Allen said. “I think our guys got a bit of confidence. … I am excited to get back to work with these guys.’’