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Platt in for some heavy lifting.

Byline: UO BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK By Bob Clark The Register-Guard

It's likely to be a different kind of matchup for Mitch Platt on Saturday night when Oregon plays at Fresno State.

After all, how many times is the 6-foot-10, 265-pound sophomore going to battle an opponent who outweighs him by about 65 pounds? That will be the case when the Bulldogs utilize 6-9 senior Jack Marlow, listed at 330 pounds.

That might even be down slightly from a year ago, when the Ducks played Marlow and the Bulldogs in the 2003-04 season opener at McArthur Court.

`I remember the crowd chanting `White Escalade,' ' Platt said.

Marlow played only nine minutes that night against the Ducks but is described as being in much better condition this season. He's averaged 13 1/2 minutes of playing time and started four games in Fresno State's 6-0 start to the season.

If Marlow sounds like a heavy task for Platt, it's one he's looking forward to more than some of the past games when opponents often went with smaller, quicker post players and the Ducks countered with a smaller lineup that didn't include Platt or one of his 7-foot backups, Ray Schafer or Matt Short.

`Big Jack,' as UO coach Ernie Kent simply referred to Marlow, will require the biggest Ducks available in a matchup.

`I kind of enjoy it,' Platt said. `Lately we've been playing (post players) who are so undersized that it doesn't work in my favor. I'll have the chance to be the littler guy with more quickness and more jumping ability than the `White Escalade.' '

Zahn update

Adam Zahn, the 6-8 sophomore who has yet to play while recovering from a severely sprained right ankle suffered two days prior to the season opener, is off crutches, no longer wearing a protective boot and doing some light running and shooting.

`Wearing two shoes feels weird,' Zahn joked of his long rehabilitation. `I'm trying to get my touch back ... what touch I had.'

He's on a schedule that will have him rejoin drills next week, but the soonest he would play in a game is Dec. 28 when Portland plays the Ducks at Mac Court in the final nonconference game. Trainers have told Zahn it's more likely he won't be ready until the Pac-10 opener Dec. 31 against USC.

`I'm missing the competition,' Zahn said. `It sucks not being a part of it. Watching (from the bench), I notice a lot of stuff we could use ... a rebounder who could come in and bang.'

After being out that long, the worry now is getting minutes in conference games to work back into playing condition.

`Coach (Kent) says he's not set on his rotation yet, but guys that are getting experience are getting a lot of confidence in themselves,' Zahn said. `I'm going to have to compete with those guys.'

Short on posts

Zahn's absence from practice was even more noticeable Thursday when Short was held out of the 90 minutes, leaving the Ducks with only four true post players.

Kent said Short became `lightheaded' during a drill.

`We held him out as a precaution,' Kent said after practice. `He looks fine now.'

Missing free points

Oregon's free-throw percentage of .657 is down from the .724 of last season, and the Ducks were eighth in Pac-10 statistics released this week.

`We can be better,' Kent said. `In time, this team will be OK.'

Kent said the two freshmen who start and average in double figures, Malik Hairston and Bryce Taylor, are examples of young players `getting fatigued because they have to play so hard at this level. When they're winded, they don't focus and they don't shoot as well. It's just a matter of time before it gets better.'

Taylor is at .500 (11-of-22), which is also his percentage for three-pointers. Hairston is at .552 (16-of-29) on free throws, though he's .561 on field goals overall.

Other Ducks are doing well. Platt, after struggling with a .306 free-throw percentage as a freshman, has made 3-of-4 after alterations in his form, and much practice. Schafer has made all five of his attempts, and looks smooth for a big man.

`Schafer's (success) is due to a lot of work,' Kent said of the redshirt freshman.
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Title Annotation:Sports; The post will have an unusual matchup against Fresno State when he faces 330-pound Jack Marlow
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Dec 17, 2004
Previous Article:Harrisburg gets a split.
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