Oregon basketball

Ducks, Dana Altman hopeful for N'Faly Dante's return vs. Oregon State on Thursday

Ducks, Dana Altman hopeful for N'Faly Dante's return vs. Oregon State on Thursday

Good news coming out of Eugene on Tuesday that Ducks fans have been waiting to hear: Oregon men’s basketball center N’Faly Dante is eyeing his return to the court.

His return could come as soon as Thursday against visiting Oregon State in chapter two of this season's Civil War series.

Oregon head coach Dana Altman and senior point guard Payton Pritchard met with members of the media on Tuesday at Matthew Knight Arena: 

Dante was seen moving around and in warm up gear before tipping off against the Arizona Wildcats last Saturday. Dante did not play in the game.

The 6-foot-11 center from Bamako, Mali has been battling knee tendinitis. The last game he played for Oregon was back on Jan. 8 against the University of Washington up in Seattle, WA. In the nine appearances for the Ducks, he averaged 6.2 points and 2.7 rebounds and totaled six blocks. While those numbers seem small, the big man just needs time and minutes. 

He is very athletic.

In their first Civil War meeting, the Ducks had trouble getting into the paint from any position on the court: guards, bigs, anything. Pritchard talked about it after the game. Oregon State's Kylor Kelley, the 7-foot senior forward, recorded 14 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Having Dante on the court, with his sheer size and athleticism alone, would be a dominating presence for the Ducks.

Did Payton Pritchard just lock up the Pac-12 Player of the Year award?

Did Payton Pritchard just lock up the Pac-12 Player of the Year award?

Payton Pritchard is on another level this season.

The Portland-native from West Linn High School is averaging 20.1 points 5.5 assists and 4.4 rebounds in his senior season for the Ducks.

On Saturday against the Arizona Wildcats, Pritchard carried the Ducks in regulation dropping a new career-high 38 points in Tucson. He shot 12-for-27 from the field, 6-for-14 from 3-PT range, a perfect 8-for-8 from the FT line as well as dishing out six assists and grabbing four rebounds.

It was a miraculous performance.

But it begged the question: did this performance lock Pritchard in for the Pac-12 Player of the Year award?

Many on social media think so...

Another name in Pac-12 POY contention is Arizona State's Remy Martin, who is averaging 17.9 points, 4.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds this season for the first place Sun Devils. 

The conference awards are released before the Pac-12 Tournament. 

Instant Analysis: Payton Pritchard drops new career-high in OT win vs. Arizona

Instant Analysis: Payton Pritchard drops new career-high in OT win vs. Arizona

It is a tight race at the top of the Pac-12 standings with four teams tied for first and the Oregon Ducks just half a game out of first. Coming off a loss at Arizona State on Thursday night, the Ducks were going to need every bit of offense and a valiant effort on defense against the Arizona Wildcats in Tucson on Saturday.

Well, the offense was there, but only from Payton Pritchard, who dropped a new career-high 38 points. 

Arizona’s Josh Green missed two free throws with five seconds left and this game was headed for overtime (the second time this season these two teams needed overtime to determine a winner).

In overtime, all nine points came from Shakur Juiston. That took immense pressure off of Pritchard on the offensive end. An offensive rebound from Will Richardson and drive to his left drew two Arizona players leaving Juiston open under the basket for a layup that put Oregon up by one with 1.4 seconds left. Game over.

No. 14 Oregon (21-7, 10-5 Pac-12) survives in OT over No. 24 Arizona (19-8, 9-5 Pac-12) and moves into a tie for second in the Pac-12 conference standings with UCLA and No. 18 Colorado.

FINAL SCORE (OT): Oregon 73, Arizona 72 

Here are three quick takeaways from the game:

1. BIG TIME PRITCHARD

Payton Pritchard opened up the game with a three-pointer, and then scored the next four points for Oregon. He scored 10 of Oregon’s first 13 points.

“It’s like having Steph Curry on your team,” said Bill Walton on the call.

Well, maybe not exactly but Pritchard was feeling it tonight. He pored in a new career high 38 points hitting 12-of-27 from the field and 6-of-14 from 3-PT range.

He scored just under half of Oregon’s total points.

Pritchard is averaging 19.4 points, 5.6 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game in his senior season.

2. ANTHONY MATHIS

Head coach Dana Altman has a big weapon in Anthony Mathis coming off the bench. Mathis has the ability to hit the outside shot and when he does, feed him the ball. Against Arizona, he and Pritchard kept Oregon in the game early hitting 3-of-5 from 3-PT range in the first half and finished with 11 points.

Mathis Pritchard were the only two Ducks to finish in double figures in regulation time. 

3. OVERTIME JUISTON

Redshirt senior Shakur Juiston just needed an overtime period to get it going on the offensive end. Before overtime, he recorded just five points, but score all of Oregon’s points in overtime (9) and finished with 14.

Arizona went 10-for-21 from the free throw line, including missing two late in regulation and missing two with one second left in overtime.

UP NEXT: It’s Civil War part two against rival Oregon State (15-12, 5-10 Pac-12) on Thursday, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. (PT) at Matthew Knight Arena.

Oregon football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball a perfect home record for full calendar year

Oregon football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball a perfect home record for full calendar year

Eugene, Oregon. A place that is quiet, surrounded by lush trees and roaring rivers, where you can find weird donuts and plenty of lumber.

It's also a place where opposing teams come to lose.

Autzen Stadium, home of Oregon football, is one of the loudest if not THE loudest stadium in the Pac-12 featuring sold out after sold out crowds. The stadium seats 54,000 which doesn’t include staying room tickets sold.

The last time Oregon football lost at home was vs. Stanford on September 22, 2018 (38-31 in OT).

Across the river is Matthew Knight Arena, home to Oregon men’s and women’s basketball. The arena seats 12,364. 

The last time Oregon men’s basketball lost at home was vs. Washington in Pac-12 conference play on January 24, 2019 (61-56).

The last time Oregon women’s basketball lost at home was exactly one year ago to UCLA on February 22 (74-69).

These three programs are a combined 39-0 in the past calendar year.

Home court/field advantage is for real and especially in Eugene.

Oregon fans love their Ducks!

Instant Analysis: No. 14 Oregon falls in the desert to Arizona State

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USATI

Instant Analysis: No. 14 Oregon falls in the desert to Arizona State

A slow start in the desert left the No. 14 Oregon Ducks fighting and clawing back throughout this contest. Arizona State’s largest lead of 12 points slowing dwindled down at the hand of Payton Pritchard in the second half. Pritchard finished with 18 points, 16 in the second half, but unfortunately fouled out with 2:15 to go in the game and the Ducks down five.

Oregon (20-7, 9-5 Pac-12) dropped a game and a spot in the Pac-12 conference standings with a loss in Tempe to the Arizona State Sun Devils (18-8, 9-4). 

The Ducks fall behind No. 18 Colorado (10-4), No. 24 Arizona (9-4) and Arizona State (9-4) in the conference standings.

FINAL SCORE: Oregon 72, Arizona State 77

Here are three quick takeaways from the game:

1. MORE TURNOVERS THAN BASKETS

At the end of the first half, the Ducks had more turnovers (11) than baskets (10). Not an ideal start at all especially on the road in a hostile environment such as Tempe, Arizona. 

2. SECOND HALF PRITCHARD

Payton Pritchard had two points in the first half, 1-for 4 from the field and 0-for-2 from three-point range. He picked up two fouls in the first half and never really found his groove. But like he’s been doing all season, you knew that cold streak wasn’t going to last. 

The senior guard hit back-to-back three-pointers midway through the second half. After his third, he hit the Oregon bench with a little shimmy. Pritchard hit four three-pointers since the 8-minute mark left in the game.

Unfortunately, the hot-handed Pritchard fouled out with 2:15 left in the game and the Ducks down 66-61.

3. FULL COURT PRESSURE

The Oregon full court press can cause many problems for the opposing team, and it did so tonight against Arizona State. During an important 11-0 Ducks run midway through the second half, Oregon forced ASU into a 10-second backcourt violation. It was momentum swinging and the Arizona State lead was gone.

But the comeback would fall just short.

UP NEXT: Oregon remains on the road to face the Arizona Wildcats (19-7, 9-4 Pac-12) on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. (PT) in Tucson, Arizona.

Oregon Ducks men's basketball moves up in latest AP Poll

Oregon Ducks men's basketball moves up in latest AP Poll

The Oregon Ducks men's basketball team picked up two clutch wins over the weekend to remain at the top in a tight race for the Pac-12 crown.

In the latest AP Poll rankings, Oregon has moved up three spots from No. 17 to No. 14 this week.

It started with a huge comeback victory over then No. 16 Colorado on Thursday night. With Bill Walton, Dave Pasch and guest announcer Mark Jackson calling the game, the Ducks came from behind in a 14-point deficit to defeat the Buffs 68-60 at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene. 

[RELATED]: Payton Pritchard gets his 100th career win in an Oregon uniform

On Sunday, the Ducks handled the visiting Utah Utes led by the sharp-shooting of sophomore Will Richardson, who finished a perfect 4-for-4 from three-point range, and senior Payton Pritchard, who led all Oregon scores with 25 points and sinking five three-pointers in the first half. The Ducks built a 10+ point lead in the first half shooting 66.7% as a team from behind the arc and used the cushion the rest of the way.

Coming up next for Oregon is a road trip this upcoming weekend in the desert followed by three home games against unranked opponents: Oregon State (5-8 in Pac-12); Cal (4-8 Pac-12); and Stanford (5-7 Pac-12).

Instant Analysis: Richardson, Pritchard heat up from deep; Ducks complete sweep over Utah

Instant Analysis: Richardson, Pritchard heat up from deep; Ducks complete sweep over Utah

It is fitting that on the same night as the 2020 NBA All-Star game, which features nothing but dunks and three-pointers, the No. 17 Oregon Ducks would light it up from downtown.

A combined 10-for-15 from behind the arc in the first half, gave the Ducks a nice 10+ point cushion over the visiting Utah Utes (14-11, 5-8 Pac-12). 

No. 17 Oregon (20-6, 9-4 Pac-12) picks up another win to remain at the top in the Pac-12 conference standings.

FINAL SCORE: Utah 62, Oregon 80

Here are three quick takeaways from the game:

1. DUCKS LIGHT IT UP FROM DEEP

The first half was looking a lot like the 2020 NBA All-Star game, well on one side. The Ducks lit it up from three-point range, hitting 10-of-15 (66.7%) as a team in the first half alone which helped create a 14-point lead going into halftime.

Sophomore Will Richardson got it started early hitting 3-for-3 and senior Payton Pritchard hit 5-for-6 in the first half.

2. THE GUARD-PLAY OF WILL RICHARDSON, PYATON PRITCHARD

The dynamic duo was at it again.

The 6-foot-5, 180-pound sophomore guard, Will Richardson, is sneaky quick and can shift his way into the paint, which he did so often against the Utes. He sliced-and-diced his way in and dished the ball off to a cutting defender. 

Richardson finished with 18 points, hitting 4-for-4 from three-point range, grabbed six rebounds and dished out six assists. It was an all-around performance from Richardson.

Pritchard, who is in National Player of the Year conversations, added 25 points off 5-for-9 from 3-PT range.

3. PATTERSON A SPARK OFF THE BENCH

Athleticism isn’t an issue when it comes to Addison Patterson.

The 6-foot-6 freshman is a four-star recruit who reclassified into the class of 2019 to play for Dana Altman and the Ducks this season. Against Utah, he was impressive on both ends of the court with ridiculous blocks on one end followed by powerful dunks on the other. He finished with 10 points, three assists and two rebounds off the bench.

UP NEXT: The Ducks hit the road for the desert to face Arizona State on Thursday, Feb. 20, tip-off at 6 p.m. (PT) in Tempe, Arizona.

Instant Analysis: Ionescu, Hebard take over in No. 3 Oregon’s huge win over No. 7 UCLA

Instant Analysis: Ionescu, Hebard take over in No. 3 Oregon’s huge win over No. 7 UCLA

Four games and four top opponents. The No. 3 Oregon Ducks are coming off wins over then-No. 4 UConn, No. 12 Arizona and then-No. 19 Arizona State before another top-10 showdown vs. No. 7 UCLA. The Ducks would have to step up once again. Enter Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard. The dynamic senior duo has been giving free demonstrations of how to run the pick-and-roll for four years now, and tonight was more of the same show.

No. 3 Oregon (23-2, 12-1 Pac-12) picks up their 11th win in a row with a huge 80-66 over No. 7 UCLA (21-3, 10-3 Pac-12) behind huge efforts from Ionescu and Hebard. 

Here are three quick takeaways from the game:

1. A NEAR PICTURE PERFECT START

For the second game in a row, Oregon holds its opponent to single digits in the first quarter: Last Sunday, the Ducks held Arizona State to two points in the first. Tonight, Oregon held UCLA to eight after one. The defense was stellar from the jump and on the first two possessions, Oregon forced UCLA deep into the shot clock followed by a trap in the corner to force a turnover. 

2. IONESCU, HEBARD DO IT AGAIN

Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games. Tonight was another example of the Pac-12’s most dynamic duo: Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard taking over and putting on a pick-and-roll clinic. Hebard recorded her 51st career double-double finishing with 30 points and 17 rebounds. 

Ionescu was just shy of recording another triple-double: 18 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. With her third assist tonight, Ionescu became just the second player in NCAA history to record 1,000 career assists, one step closer to becoming the first player to record 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds. Ionescu currently has 973 rebounds.

3. DUCKS NEED TO FINISH AND FINISH STRONG

A 19-point lead after three quarters is comfortable right? Wrong. Not in this conference where time and time again any team has proven to go on a run at any time. This was the case against UCLA, making Oregon look uncomfortable in the fourth quarter, turning up the full court and on-ball pressure and forcing turnovers. The Ducks scored just 13 points in the fourth quarter, compared to giving up 18 to the Bruins.

Just down the road tonight, USC defeated No. 11 Oregon State. Oregon will need to keep the foot on the gas pedal against the Trojans on Sunday.

UP NEXT: The Ducks remain in Los Angeles for a battle with the USC Trojans (13-11, 5-8 Pac-12) on Sunday at 1 p.m. (PT).

Payton Pritchard gets 100th career win in an Oregon Ducks uniform

Payton Pritchard gets 100th career win in an Oregon Ducks uniform

With all the roster turnover, the one-and-dones, the transfers in the last four years in the Oregon men’s basketball program, the one consistent piece in Dana Altman’s system has been Payton Pritchard.

The Portland-native from West Linn High School, 4x state champion, 2015 Oregon Gatorade Player of the Year, Pritchard was the top player out of the state of Oregon and the No. 13 ranked point guard in the nation in the 2016 class. He averaged 23.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 3.1 steals per game and knocked down 68 three-pointers as a senior.

Pritchard had offers from Gonzaga, Villanova, Wisconsin, Oregon and Oklahoma and originally committed to the Sooners. A few months later, a new decision was made: Pritchard decided to sign with the Ducks.

I’ve grown up here. I’m an Oregon boy, born and raised. I love Coach Altman and his coaching staff and I just feel I can be really successful there. — Pritchard told KOIN6 News back in 2015.

The impact Pritchard has had since stepping on campus for the first time has been remarkable. 

FRESHMAN (2016-2017)

It didn’t take long for Payton Pritchard to earn his way into the starting lineup. Just five games into his freshman season, Pritchard replaced then starter Casey Benson against the Tennessee Volunteers in the Maui Invitational. Pritchard finished with six points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal.

After he moved into the starting lineup, the Ducks went 31-4 the rest of the way and fell one game short of playing for a national championship for the first time since the 1939 "Tall Firs" brought the title home to Eugene.

Season-ending averages: 7.4 points, 3.6 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game.

SOPHOMORE (2017-2018)

No “sophomore slump” for Pritchard. 

Coming off a Final Four run in the previous season, the Ducks lost Dillon Brooks, Tyler Dorsey and Jordan Bell to the NBA Draft along with Chris Boucher and Dylan Ennis. The 2017-18 roster featured four returners from the previous year: Pritchard, M.J. Cage, Keith Smith and Paul White.

Pritchard was named All-Pac-12 Second Team selection and led Oregon in both scoring and assists.

The Ducks finished the season 23-13 overall, 10-8 in the Pac-12 and eventually lost in round two of the NIT Tournament to the Marquette Golden Eagles.

Season-ending averages: 14.5 points, 4.8 assists and 3.8 rebounds

JUNIOR (2018-2019)

Another year, another large roster turnover year.

The Ducks returned five players from the previous season: Pritchard, Paul White Kenny Wooten, Will Johnson, and Abu Kigab (transferred midseason).

Named Pac-12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Pritchard led the nation in total minutes played (1,349) and starting all 38 games on 2018-19.

He also had quite the impressive dunk against the Washington Huskies in the Pac-12 championship game that got his former teammate Dillon Brooks on his feet:

Oregon went on to make a deep NCAA Tournament run, but ran its course in the Sweet Sixteen to the eventual National Champions the Virginia Cavaliers.

Season-ending averages: 12.9 points, 4.6 assists and 3.9 rebounds

SENIOR (2019-present)

Following his junior campaign, Pritchard decided to test the NBA waters. 

Over the course of his final 11 games his junior year, Pritchard averaged 15.8 points, 5.3 assists and 4.0 rebounds. Part of his feedback from NBA scouts was seeing “tournament Pritchard” on a consistent basis. He would return to Oregon for his senior year.

Now, Pritchard is in National Player of the Year conversations and just one of three active D1 players to be averaging 19.0 points, 5.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game.

The Ducks were predicted as the preseason favorites for the Pac-12 title and are currently at the top.

Season averages: 19.6 points, 5.8 assists and 4.3 rebounds

Against UCLA on Sunday, Jan. 26, Pritchard etched his name in Oregon history once again becoming the winningest player in Oregon history with 98 wins.

Tonight vs. No. 16 Colorado, he notched his 100th.

The Ducks still have six games remaining on their conference schedule and at least one game at the Pac-12 Tournament before reaching postseason play.

Instant Analysis: Richardson brings life to No. 17 Oregon in double-digit comeback victory over No. 16 Colorado

Instant Analysis: Richardson brings life to No. 17 Oregon in double-digit comeback victory over No. 16 Colorado

EUGENE, Oregon - It was one of those “Wow, I can’t believe they won” type of games. The No. 17 Oregon Ducks completed their fifth double-digit comeback of the season in dramatic fashion to get the win over the visiting No. 16 Colorado Buffaloes. The victory  not only was a win over a higher ranked opponent, but also tied Oregon at the top of the Pac-12 conference.

The Ducks (19-6, 8-4 Pac-12) completed the second half comeback to defeat the Buffs (19-6, 8-4 Pac-12) 68-60 in Matthew Knight Arena.

Here are three quick takeaways from the game:

1. FIRST HALF DROUGHT

After Oregon built a 16-10 early lead, the Buffaloes went on a 20-0 run over the course of six minutes and 39 seconds. Buffs took the lead at half, 35-26. Oregon finished the first half with only four assists. Senior guard Payton Pritchard did not have an assist in the first half.

On a more positive note, the Ducks did have six steals in the first half, most of which were generated from Oregon’s full court pressure, forcing the ball in the corners down low and double-teaming the ball. 

2. SECOND HALF SURGE

The second half was a MUCH different story for the Ducks: within the first six minutes, Oregon matched their total assists from the first half. After scoring just 26 points in the first half, the Ducks poured in 42 in the second.

A huge part of this second half for Oregon was great defense that led to better offense. Oregon held Colorado’s McKinley Wright scoreless in the second half. 

In the final four minutes of the game, it was the perfect time for a 12-0 run. The Ducks turned up the full court pressure, meanwhile, Will Richardson took over. See point #3.

3. GUARD TAKEOVER

It was once again the Payton Pritchard, Will Richardson show and the Ducks needed every bit of it. Seventeen of Richardson’s 21 points came in the second half. He was aggressive getting to the bucket while finding his outside shot. Richardson was a perfect 3-for-3 from three-point range, 4-for-4 from the three-point line, and grabbed six rebounds. His counterpart Pritchard recorded all of his six assists in the second half, and finished with a double-double, 15 points and 11 rebounds. He was four assists shy of a triple-double.

UP NEXT: The Ducks host the Utah Utes, who just came off a 19-point loss to the Oregon State Beavers tonight, on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. (PT) at Matthew Knight Arena.