BOISE — After Ehab Amin hustled toward the sideline and bounced the ball off a Boise State player to give Oregon possession with 30 seconds left in the game, he picked the ball up and slammed it down before letting out a primal scream.
Amin’s display of emotion was the perfect punctuation to his performance and Oregon’s gritty 62-50 victory over the Broncos on Saturday evening at Taco Bell Arena.
The senior graduate transfer from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi came off the bench to spark a sluggish Ducks offense with 23 points and a team-high six rebounds.
“We just started hitting a lot more jumpers and that opened things up for me,” Amin said. “Then we just started spreading it around. I was just taking what the defense was giving me.”
Amin’s window of opportunity was the result of the Broncos’ concentrated effort to shut down Payton Pritchard, who scored 19 against Boise State when the two teams met Dec. 15 in Eugene.
“We did a great job on Pritchard—that was a big part of our game plan,” Broncos coach Leon Rice said. “But it’s not like we said we’re going to double-team Pritchard. We just didn’t make it tough enough on Amin too.”
Amin took full advantage of Boise State’s mistake, providing just what Oregon’s offense needed after shooting a dismal 24 percent from the field in the first half.
“(Amin) got a couple of shots down and his energy level was really good,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “But he also got some steals and boards for us, so he didn’t just help us with his shooting.”
Oregon (9-4), playing without three starters — Bol Bol, Kenny Wooten and Abu Kigab — due to injuries, was buoyed by its defense over the first nine minutes of the game in a sluggish start for both teams. The Ducks held Boise State without a field goal during that stretch but their offense shot only 3-of-17 from the field.
Both teams muddled through the rest of the half as the Broncos scrapped their way to a 24-21 halftime lead.
After Boise State (5-8) made the first bucket of the second half to take a 26-21 advantage, Oregon’s Paul White and Victor Bailey Jr. combined for 11 points in a 13-2 run for the Ducks.
“Victor and Paul just came out shooting the ball really well in the second half, and that was really big for us to get something going,” Amin said.
Despite the run, Oregon struggled to put away Boise State as the Broncos edged to within 40-37 with 10:37 remaining.
Then Amin put the game on ice.
Amin hit a floater in the lane along with a free throw before delivering a devastating three-pointer with 8:31 left in the game.
Boise State never got any closer than seven points the rest of the way.
White scored 13 points and grabbed five boards to help lead Oregon, while Pat Dembley scored 13 points to lead the Broncos.
With Boise State fans streaming for the exits as time ran down, Amin threw his hands in the air as he looked at his teammates on the bench.
“The beginning of the season hasn’t gone the way we wanted it to,” Amin said. “We’ve lost a couple that we shouldn’t have lost, so we had to come out and show our emotion — show our frustration and show our excitement. Any time you’re on the road and you get a win, you need to get excited.”
Altman was pleased with the victory but is aware of how much his team needs to improve heading into Pac-12 play next Saturday against Oregon State.
“This win was important,” Altman said. “We needed a win like this. We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs with injuries and new guys, but we need to keep pressing forward. There are a lot of great opportunities ahead for this them.”