By Tim Hipps, U.S. Army Installation Management CommandNovember 9, 2013
CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea (Nov. 9, 2013) - In a season-opening matchup of teams led by newcomers, Joseph Young scored 24 points to lead No. 19 Oregon to an 82-75 victory over Georgetown in the 2013 Armed Forces Classic.
The Ducks and Hoyas tipped off Nov. 9 at 10:16 a.m., on a Saturday morning at the Humphreys Community Fitness Center. For college basketball fans across America, the game was one of many season openers on Friday night. Only one, however, was played before 2,100 U.S. troops and their family members, along with a worldwide television audience on ESPN.
"We're about to start the journey to determine who is the best team in college basketball, the best team in the country, and we're doing it in front of the best team in the world," ESPN announcer Jay Bilas said. "I'm in absolute awe of the commitment, the sacrifice, of our men and women in uniform."
Young, a junior guard who transferred from Houston is a son of Michael Young, who played for the high-flying "Phi Slama Jama" teams of the early 1980's. He grabbed five rebounds and was perfect on 12 free throws in his first game as a Duck.
Joshua Smith, a 6-foot-10, 350-pound junior center who transferred from UCLA, led Georgetown (0-1) with 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting and 5 of 9 free throws before fouling out of his first game as a Hoya with 9 seconds remaining.
Jason Calliste made all 11 of his free throws and scored 16 points for Oregon (1-0). Mike Moser added 15 points, seven rebounds and a career-high six steals, the most by an Oregon player in 15 seasons. Darius Wright was the last Duck to post six steals in a game against USC on Jan. 7, 1999.
"We came a long way, so we really didn't want to lose this one," Moser said. "It definitely feels good to go home -- a 12-hour ride -- with a win."
Damyean Dotson grabbed eight rebounds and Johnathan Loyd had seven assists for Oregon. Loyd recorded his 304th career assist for a spot on the Ducks' top 10 list.
The Hoyas shot 1 of 15 from 3-point range, failed to find much offensive continuity, and were out-rebounded, 40-32.
"Things we can control, we have to control," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "We had too many untimely unforced turnovers. We got our rhythm offensively, but we gave up a lot of threes in a row -- it felt like four or five. The timing of that is what we have to learn. When we had to get a stop or a rebound, we didn't."
Oregon took an 18-7 lead via a 12-2 run, capped by two free throws by Calliste with 12:27 remaining in the first half. Calliste also converted a three-point play that gave the Ducks a 30-23 lead with 5:25 remaining in the period. Oregon led, 37-34, at halftime.
Georgetown took its first lead since 2-0 on a steal by Markel Starks and Smith's feed to Jabril Trawick for a layup and a 40-39 lead with 18:06 left. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera's jumper put Georgetown ahead, 42-39. Loyd responded with a 3-pointer, Young followed with a layup, and the Ducks led the rest of the way. They made 9 of 10 free throws in the final 1:15 to secure the victory.
Starks finished with 16 points and four assists for Georgetown. Trawick added 11 points and three rebounds.
Before departing, Moser saluted the troops who welcomed the Ducks to Camp Humphreys, their most distant regular-season game site in school history.
"We had a lot of fun," Moser said. "Getting a chance to hang out with the troops for a couple days inspired us to try and come out here and win this game."
Played on Veterans Day weekend, the game featured a military theme throughout. Rather than players' last names, Army values, such as "Courage," "Integrity" and "Respect," adorned the back of Georgetown's camouflage-patterned jerseys. The backs of the Ducks' camouflage-patterned jerseys displayed: "USA." Members of both coaching staffs wore military-style cargo pants and combat boots.
"This was an unbelievable experience," Thompson said. "It was a privilege to play in this environment, and it was a privilege to play in front of the Soldiers. One of the most rewarding times was serving lunch yesterday and getting the chance to interact with the young men and women stationed here at Camp Humphreys."
Georgetown players Nate Lubick and Starks also were appreciative.
"This was a great opportunity to get a close-up look at what life is like for the men and women who protect our country," Lubick said. "We're very fortunate to have the opportunity to come here and play a game to thank them for all they do."
"We're blessed to have the chance to come here and see and tour the base and the helicopters," Starks added. "It's amazing all that they do and we're really thankful to get the chance to meet everyone here."
Folks at Camp Humphreys thought likewise.
"It's such a blessing," said Cassie Gaudette, wife of Army Capt. Brian Gaudette. "I don't think that they can truly understand how exciting and wonderful it is to have a little piece of home and have the teams come here to South Korea. We're originally from Eugene [home of the Oregon Ducks], so this was really exciting to see our Ducks in person."
Oregon played without sophomores Dominic Artis and Ben Carter, who were suspended nine games for violating NCAA rules by selling school-issued athletic apparel. If only they knew what they missed.