How Oregon won: A near brilliant first half from the young, energetic Ducks in front of a sellout crowd at Matthew Knight Arena on this 350th Civil War night. What started on the defensive end, denying passing lanes, grabbing clutch rebounds, eliminating Oregon State offensive rebounds, turned into a fast-paced yet calm, cool, and collected offensive performance. Lead by senior guard Elijah Brown’s 20 points, 18 in the first half alone, the Ducks went into halftime up 41-25 shooting 65% from the field.
The second half was a bit different story. Oregon took its foot off the gas for a moment, and Oregon State started to claw its way back as 12,000+ Oregon fans had that “not again” look upon their faces. Not another blown lead.
Although just shooting 6-of-24 from the field in the second half, Oregon (14-7, 4-4 Pac-12) rode its lead and defeated in-state rival Oregon State (11-9, 3-5 Pac-12) 66-57 in the Civil War at Matthew Knight Arena.
Oregon coach Dana Altman said, “The biggest difference was our activity defensively, we had 17 deflections and that turned into 17 points off their turnovers. Second half we had six deflections and only two points off those turnovers. We got real stagnant offensively and some bad turnovers…”
“The defense and the rebounding were better than they were three weeks ago,” said Altman.
The Ducks learned from their mistakes the last time they faced the Beavers in Corvallis on January, 5th, 2018. In that game, Beavers’ Drew Eubanks and Tres Tinkle stole the show. Tonight, the two combined for 15 points. Every time Eubanks touched the ball down low, he was immediately met by two Ducks. Oregon turned up its ball pressure on Tinkle making it hard for him to create space and get open.
What it means: The Ducks now sit at 4-4, .500 in the Pac-12 and will finish their last 6-of-10 games on the road.
Last week, it was Victor Bailey Jr. The week before, Payton Pritchard. Different guys are stepping up in different times.
“That’s what good teams do,” said Pritchard. “Last year’s team it was like that… last year we had five games and five different leading scorers. For this team to be successful, we can’t just have one guy just taking all the shots. It needs to be a team thing and you know that’s what makes good teams.”
High flying Ducks: With Brown leading the charge and drawing defenders closer to him, that left more lanes open for others to exploit. Pritchard was one of those who noticed and took advantage of it. Pritchard finished with seven points and seven assists. Redshirt junior Paul White finished with 17 points off the bench.
Foul play: White finished with four fouls. Pritchard and senior Mikyle McIntosh each finished with three fouls.
Up next: The Ducks go on the road to face the California Golden Bears (7-14, 1-7 Pac-12) at 6 PM (PT) this Thursday in Berkeley, CA.