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Oregon’s Brooks answers the bell

Coaches hate surprises on the eve of a season, but that’s what Dana Altman got this week.

The Oregon coach learned he will be without senior transfer Dylan Ennis for at least one month and maybe longer because of a foot injury. Although new to the team, Ennis had already become a vocal leader for the Ducks and was likely the starting point guard.

“I’m not sure what we are going to do to be real honest,” Altman said after Oregon beat Northwest Christian 92-44 in a men’s basketball exhibition game Tuesday night in front of 5,499 at Matthew Knight Arena. “I had Dylan playing quite a few minutes. We will have to re-evaluate a lot of things and make some adjustments.

“You go through the month of November and we practiced one way for the last four weeks and now we have to change. It will be interesting to see how we handle it.”

Already without sophomore forward Jordan Bell with a broken foot, Ennis is also out indefinitely after joining the Ducks this season following three years at Villanova.

“He’s going to be out for a while,” Altman said. “I am not sure how long, but we won’t see him in November for sure and maybe not even December. The doctors still have not decided what procedure to go through. I feel bad for him. He worked so hard and he’s such a great kid. You hate that for his senior year.”

Oregon has three guards without Ennis including freshman Tyler Dorsey, who had 15 points and eight rebounds against NCU, and Kendall Small, who had four points in 17 minutes. Sophomore Casey Benson had five points, four steals, four rebounds and three assists.

“We are playing two freshmen and a sophomore back there so they have to grow up quick,” Altman said. “We don’t have much experience back there.”

The Ducks noticed a difference without Ennis.

“He’s a vocal leader so it was hard to get into sets without him on the floor today,” said senior forward Elgin Cook, who had 13 points and nine rebounds.

Dillon Brooks led Oregon with 26 points, including 20 in the first half as Oregon took a 53-29 lead. Brooks was 10-for-12 from the field and 6-for-7 from the line while also leading Oregon with 11 rebounds.

“I felt really comfortable, the ball was being thrown to me by my teammates and it was falling in,” Brooks said.

“I felt like I put in work during the summer and it just felt easy out there.”

Dwayne Benjamin added 13 points and eight rebounds for the Ducks while junior-college transfer Chris Boucher had 11 points and seven blocked shots as he helped replace Bell with his defensive presence.

“He’s a freak out there,” Brooks said of Boucher.

Oregon outrebounded Northwest Christian 58-28 and the Ducks shot 44.9 percent from the field, but were just 1-for-17 on three-pointers.

“We do have a good shooting team,” Altman said. “We just got in a hurry. We had six of them fired up in the first four minutes. We got going too quick and once that starts then you are not quite sure. I told them I don’t mind if you take some threes, but we have six in four minutes, we have to be more patient than that.”

The Ducks have one more exhibition against Southern Oregon on Sunday before opening the season against Jackson State on Nov. 13 as they look to adjust their lineup without Ennis.

“We have a lot of work to do in the next two weeks, but it’s a place to start,” Altman said.

Jack Hackman led NCU with 12 points and six rebounds, and Nick Sullivan added nine points as the Beacons shot 23.2 percent from the field.