EUGENE — Dana Altman played every scholarship player he had against USC.
After admitting his team was “gassed” when it lost a 13-point lead in the final 12 minutes of an 82-79 loss to No. 6 UCLA on Thursday, the Oregon coach expanded his rotation and cut down the minutes for most of his starters in Saturday’s 81-70 victory over USC at Galen Center.
Dillon Brooks and Jordan Bell were in foul trouble against the Trojans and played 26 minutes apiece after playing 38 and 35, respectively, in the loss to the Bruins. Tyler Dorsey had 19 points in 29 minutes against USC, three fewer than he played against the Bruins, and Payton Pritchard and Dylan Ennis each played three minutes more against USC than UCLA.
Seventh-ranked Oregon (22-4, 11-2) used four reserves for a total of 55 minutes in the win over the Trojans after getting 37 minutes from its bench against UCLA.
Altman said he regretted not playing Chris Boucher more than 20 minutes on Thursday and kept him on the floor for 30 minutes as Brooks fouled out at USC and Bell had four fouls.
“I did a better job, I didn’t do a very good job Thursday,” Altman said of distributing playing time. “Jordan and Dillon with 26 minutes, Tyler at 29 and Payton with 33 and Dylan at 31, we didn’t get up to the 38 or 39 mark.
“I gave them more rest because I thought we needed it in the second game. We had a tough game just two days before, so we absolutely needed to give some guys rest.”
Seven Ducks played against UCLA, but Altman went with nine against USC as Kavell Bigby-Williams and Roman Sorkin played in the first half. Bigby-Williams had two points and three rebounds in five minutes, and Sorkin played just the final minute before halftime.
“Kavell coming off the bench and getting three rebounds was big,” Altman said.
Freshman Keith Smith did not dress Saturday because of a knee injury. Smith, who played one minute at both Utah and Colorado two weeks ago, has missed the past four games.
Two of Oregon’s three freshmen have been injured this season. Smith has played in 19 games for an average of eight minutes, but M.J. Cage is sitting out a redshirt season after battling a couple of injuries early in the season.
Pritchard has been the star of the class, starting the past 22 games and averaging 8.1 points and a team-high 3.5 assists.
“Somebody told me in eighth grade he said he’d win four state titles and he did it,” Oregon forward Jordan Bell said. Pritchard led West Linn to four Class 6A championships.
“So when he came here, I thought he would have the same confidence, and kill from the jump.”
With five juniors and three seniors on the roster, Altman told the players they needed to motivate themselves during the 48 hours between games in Los Angeles to avoid being swept as they were last year in the Bay Area on the same weekend of conference play.
“We have a number of experienced players who have been through adversity, so those are the times that players have to want it,” Altman said. “As coaches, we encourage them to go from one game to the next, but they have to get themselves ready.
“I thought our veterans did a good job, we were prepared to play. On the road, you want it to be a grind game so the crowd doesn’t get into it and our guys did a nice job.”