EUGENE — With an experienced lineup and a prolific scorer, No. 18 Oregon knew better than to take Western Carolina lightly.
Turns out, Joseph Young made it a moot point.
Trey Sumler scored 29 in his season debut for the Catamounts, but Young went for a career-best 36 points in the Ducks’ 107-83 win on Wednesday night.
He was 10-for-15 from the field and 6-for-8 from the free-throw line for Western Carolina (2-1). Sumler, who averaged a team-high 18.4 points last season and was an all-Southern Conference selection, missed the first two games of the season after being charged with assault and battery in September.
James Sinclair also scored 17 for the Catamounts and Tom Tankelewicz added 11 points.
“This team had five starters back and the preseason player of the year and that coach sitting down at the other side has over 600 wins and he knows what he’s doing,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “We knew going in we were going to have our hands full. That’s a veteran team with a very good coach. We were fortunate to shoot the ball well.”
One quick 3-pointer was all it took to spark a career-night for Young.
The junior guard, a transfer from Houston, made all seven of his shots in the second half and only missed three of his 12 attempts in the game. He was also 15-for-16 from the free-throw line.
And it started with a 3-pointer from the corner in the opening minute of the second half. Then he started attacking the basket.
“It just kinda came to me when I hit that first 3, I was like ‘Ok, I’m feeling it,’” said Young, who had the most points by an Oregon player since Tajuan Porter scored 34 against Portland State in the 2006 season opener.
Mike Moser added 26 points and Elgin Cook had 16 for the Ducks (2-0), who opened the season with an 82-75 win against Georgetown last Friday at Camp Humphreys, a U.S. Army base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea. They returned to Oregon the next day and resumed practice Monday.
Moser, a 6-8 transfer senior forward from UNLV where he was an All-American in 2012, scored 15 in the first half and went 9-for-14 from the field.
“Today we did a really good job of getting to the basket,” Moser said. “The emphasis was to take better shots.”
The Ducks shot 74.1 percent in the second half and 65.3 percent overall.
“There were a lot of good things in, the second half in particular,” Altman said. “The ball movement was outstanding. Defensively, this team has a long way to go.”
The Ducks (2-0) led 41-39 at halftime but then Young took over. He scored 17 points as Oregon extended its lead to 71-55 with 11:49 left.
“He does have a knack for finishing around the basket,” Altman said. “Guys were looking for him. He had the hot hand there.”
Young and Moser hit back-to-back 3-pointers to open the second half and Oregon hit eight 3’s in the game. The Ducks also went 35 for 47 from the free throw line.
Western Carolina cut their deficit to 73-67 with 9:08 to play on a 3-pointer by Sumler, his 13th straight point. But that was as close as the Catamounts would get, as Oregon outscored them 33-16 the rest of the way.
Moser’s 3-pointer with 11:57 to play in the first half put Oregon up 15-12 and came in the middle of a 14-1 run for the Ducks that turned a 12-8 deficit into a 22-13 lead. But just when it looked like the Ducks were primed to take a commanding lead, Brandon Boggs scored 10 straight for the Catamounts to pull them within a point of the lead, 37-36, with 1:42 to go before halftime.