Nevada (9-4) at Oregon (10-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, December 31, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Matthew Knight Arena (12,346) -- Eugene, Oregon. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: Nevada 8-1, Oregon 9-0. Away Record: Nevada 1-3, Oregon 1-1. Neutral Record: Nevada 0-0, Oregon 0-1. Conference Record: Nevada 0-0, Oregon 0-0. Series Record: Oregon leads, 5-1.
GAME NOTES: Winners of all nine of their home games this season, the Oregon Ducks try to remain perfect at Matthew Knight Arena as they entertain the Nevada Wolf Pack in non-conference play on Monday.
The Ducks have been out of action since Dec. 22 when they hosted and destroyed Houston Baptist, 91-50, marking their best home start since the 2006-07 campaign. Overall, the team has won five of its last six outings, the one setback during the run coming in three overtimes at UTEP (91-84) on Dec. 19.
As for the Wolf Pack, who are preparing for their first league game as a member of the Mountain West Conference nine days from now against Air Force, they matched up against Yale on Friday and closed out a four-game homestand with an 85-75 victory. The win was the fifth straight overall for the group after a stretch where they were defeated in three of four outings.
Oregon leads the all-time series with Nevada by a 5-1 margin, posting an 86-69 victory in the most recent matchup back in 1997 in Eugene.
Malik Story erupted for a career-high 35 points against Yale in the last game, scoring 24 in the second half alone which by itself would have been good enough for his second-highest scoring effort this season for the Pack. Story made good on 12-of-21 shots from the floor, added four rebounds, four assists and four steals in 35 minutes of action. Jordan Burris chipped in another 12 points and cleared a team-best seven rebounds for a group that shot 57.1 percent from the floor. Playing more than 30 minutes per game, Story has moved his scoring average to 17.3 ppg and now leads Deonte Burton (16.0 ppg) in that category, although the latter is just as focused as getting his teammates involved (42 assists) as he is with his own scoring these days. Because of the duo, Nevada is generating 74.7 ppg, but that's only 2.4 ppg more than the unit is giving up through 13 games.
Houston Baptist didn't stand a chance against the Ducks in the last outing, shooting a mere 26.1 percent from the field, turning the ball over 17 times and losing the rebounding battle by a 52-39 margin. Because the win was inevitable, the Ducks had just one player on the floor for more than 20 minutes, that being Damyean Dotson who recorded 10 points and eight rebounds in 21 minutes of action. Tony Woods responded with 14 points, E.J. Singler 13 and Carlos Emory 10 in a reserve role as the team had a total of 14 players see action, all but one of whom scored. In the nine games played in this building in 2012-13, the Ducks are outscoring the visitors by a whopping 24.7 ppg, yet no one is scoring more than 12.3 ppg (Woods) in those contests. Overall, Woods is second on the unit with 10.8 ppg, one of five scoring in double figures at the moment as he trails only Dotson (11.7 ppg).
The balanced offensive attack displayed by Oregon in the early going is not easy to replicate and for a team like the Wolf Pack that relies so much on Burton and Story, it may be too much for the visitors to handle.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oregon 77, Nevada 68
12/31 10:35:22 ET