Porter leads Ducks to opening victory
EUGENE — Tajuan Porter did his best to help No. 12 Oregon forget about Aaron Brooks.
The sophomore point guard had 17 points and a career-high nine assists in the Ducks' 100-70 season-opening win against Pepperdine in the World Vision International tournament on Saturday night.
It was Oregon's 16th straight season-opening win, the longest streak in the Pac-10 Conference. It was also the Ducks' first game in four season without Brooks, the scoring and assist leader on last season's team that reached the NCAA tournament regional finals.
"My role has changed a little bit from last year," said Porter, who started alongside Brooks and was the team's second-leading scorer at 14.6 points. "This year, I have to score and share the ball."
Oregon coach Ernie Kent was pleased with his sophomore's performance.
"I thought he had a terrific floor game and making plays for us against their press," Kent said.
Bryce Taylor and Malik Hairston also scored 17 points each for Oregon.
"We played a great basketball game," Porter said. "We shared the ball well and the new guys played well also. We're just glad we got the first game out of the way and now we have to move on."
Malcolm Thomas scored 22 points and Daniel Johnson added 13 for the Waves.
Taylor scored seven straight during that spurt. Leading 44-22, the Ducks outscored Pepperdine 9-1 in the final minute of the half to take a 53-23 lead into the break.
Oregon shot 50 percent from the field in the first half and made 6-for-9 from beyond the arc. The Ducks finished the game shooting 52 percent, and outrebounded the Waves 58-40.
Oregon pushed the tempo in the second half. It took a 40-point lead on an alley-oop dunk from Porter to Hairston.
"A lot of top-25 teams lost this week and we didn't want that to be us," Porter said. "We're just glad we got the first-game jitters out."