EUGENE — Sunday provided the first glimpse at just how important a long-awaited NCAA decision on Friday could be for Oregon.
Two days after he was declared eligible, junior guard Joseph Young had 20 points, five steals, and three assists in his Duck debut to lead Oregon to a 99-59 win over Northwest Christian University in an exhibition men's basketball game at Matthew Knight Arena.
Young averaged 18 points per game last year at Houston before transferring to Oregon, where he successfully got the NCAA to waive its requirement that transfers sit out a season.
"My first reaction was 'Thank God'," Young said. "I was very happy to get it to succeed."
Coach Dana Altman's reaction to the news was also obvious.
"I was pretty excited," he said. "He is a really good young man that works really hard. He wants to be a part of the team and he will be. We need him. He will be a good player for us."
Young is one of six transfers on the Ducks and each had a chance to show off their skills in a debut performance against the Beacons.
Senior guard Jason Calliste, a transfer from Detroit, also had 20 points while making all three of his three-pointers and Mike Moser, a senior transfer from UNLV, had eight points and seven rebounds. Oregon's three junior-college transfers pitched in as Elgin Cook had 10 points and five rebounds, Richard Amardi added five rebounds, and Jalil Abdul-Bassit had five points and four rebounds.
"Once we come together, I think we can be better than last year," said senior guard Johnathan Loyd, one of five returnees from last season when Oregon reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. "When we are firing on all cylinders, we will be good. Real good."
One of the biggest reasons for optimism is the backcourt with starters Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson returning along with Loyd and now Young, Calliste and Abdul-Bassit added to the group. Altman will play three guards most of the time and just how those players are mixed together remains to be seen, but each played at least 11 minutes against NCU.
"We've got a long way to go there," Altman said when asked about rotations in the backcourt. "It's Oct. 27. I think a lot of that will be determined in practice. We will work through it in November and December and by the time conference play gets here, we will have combinations that work the best together."
Young got the most time on the floor with 26 minutes and Abdul-Bassit played 19 along with Dotson, who had 12 points and five rebounds. Calliste played 18 minutes and got the start along with Loyd, who had four assists and two steals in 12 minutes. Artis came off the bench to score six points in 11 minutes.
"I wanted to get everybody out there and on the floor," Altman said. "We didn't need to play the veterans a lot of minutes."
NCU trailed 17-13 when ex-Duck Austin Kuemper scored with 11:02 left in the first half before the Ducks rolled off 12 straight points with six different players scoring during that span.
Ben Carter drilled a jumper and Young converted a three-point play before Cook made a pair of free throws. Abdul-Bassit had a lay-up and Calliste hit a free throw and then Amardi made a basket to put UO ahead 29-13 with 7:07 left in the first half.
Calliste added a couple 3-pointers and three free throws as Oregon took a 51-27 lead at halftime. The Ducks started the second half with 10 straight points started by a basket from Moser before Dotson and Calliste each had a three-point play. Dotson added a pair of free throws to put Oregon ahead 61-27 with 16:34 left to play.
Oregon shot 50.8 percent from the field, including 7-for-20 on three-pointers, and outrebounded the NAIA Beacons 45-34. Altman played everyone on the roster except freshman A.J. Lapray, who has been limited in practice due to injury.
"It's a start," Altman said. "We've got a lot of things to work on from this game and rebounding would be the most obvious. We are blending a lot of new guys together. You can see some of the talented players we have on the perimeter. I think we will be able to get better and better as we play more together."
Coleton Baker, who was a walk-on for the Ducks last season, led NCU with 24 points and seven rebounds while South Eugene graduate Spencer Coleman, a transfer from Montana, added 13 points in the debut of new coach Luke Jackson.
"I think that you can learn a lot more from losses than you ever will from your wins," Jackson said. "I think that Oregon team will hold a lot of Pac-12 teams to less than we scored tonight. It is a talented group, the future is really bright for Oregon basketball. We played our hearts out."