Bol Bol and Abu Kigab were on the bench in matching sweatsuits and walking boots.
Kenny Wooten was sitting next to them for the opening tipoff after missing Monday’s practice due to an illness.
Just about 20 hours after losing to Utah by 29 points, Florida A&M led the Oregon men 18-10 until the Ducks began to play the part of a 28-point basketball favorite. Just as it seemed the Ducks might hit that margin, the Rattlers scored the final 13 points before Oregon finally finished off a 71-64 win in front of an announced crowd of 6,909 at Matthew Knight Arena on Tuesday afternoon.
“It was a disappointing finish and our start was poor,” UO coach Dana Altman said. “It shows how far we have to go as a team. A lot of work to do and a lot of things to work on.”
Altman isn’t sure who he will have to work with as Bol’s status remains unclear because of a left foot injury that left him limping and off the court for the second consecutive game.
“No update,” Altman said when asked for information on Bol, who leads the Ducks with 21.0 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. “We will wait and see.”
Kigab suffered an ankle injury in the second half of Saturday’s win over Boise State and Altman was unsure of his status for Friday’s game at Baylor.
That left the Ducks with nine scholarship players once Wooten entered the game with 11:01 left to play in the first half and the Ducks trailing by seven points. Wooten took the floor after Ehab Amin and Victor Bailey each shot an airball on three-point attempts as a loud groan came from the crowd when the Ducks left the court for a timeout.
After Tracy Hector made a free throw for the Rattlers, Oregon followed with 15 consecutive points to end any drama.
Bailey scored six straight points before Paul White converted a three-point play. Payton Pritchard made a three-pointer and Wooten scored inside before Amin made a free throw and Louis King hit a three-pointer as the Ducks went up 28-18.
“We decided to pull it around after that time out,” White said. “I was just glad we all came together as a team and kind of willed our way into halftime.”
Oregon (8-3) led 38-23 at the break and stretched the margin to 61-38 on a three-pointer by Will Richardson with 10:27 left to play.
White put Oregon ahead 71-51 before the Rattlers rolled off 13 points in the final three minutes.
Bailey got his first career start and led the Ducks with 16 points while White added 13 points. Pritchard had 10 points, four assists and four steals.
King also got his first start in his fourth game and shot 4-for-12 from the field while finishing with nine points and six rebounds.
Bol, Kigab and Wooten have combined for 21 starts, but with each on the bench at the beginning, the Ducks started a three-guard lineup with the 6-foot-9 White playing in the post.
“Bol is a phenomenal talent and our starting lineup was a lot bigger with him in it, but now we started to spread the floor out a bit more,” White said. “Now with me at the ‘4’, we spread out and have more driving lanes open.”
Oregon shot 45.5 percent from the floor while making 7-of-25 three-pointers. The Ducks had a 40-24 rebounding advantage led by seven from Wooten.
All nine Ducks played at least 15 minutes as Altman adjusted to a new-look roster that included freshman Miles Norris, who had four points in 16 minutes during his second game.
“I think it will be game-to-game,” the coach said of his rotations. “We have to get Ehab going a little bit and we are a little limited. Lou has continued to come on and play more minutes. We need to get him going a bit. All of the guys need to pick it up.”
Justin Ravenal scored 15 points to pace the Rattlers (3-10), who matched their smallest margin of defeat all season.