Payton Pritchard

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.

Payton Pritchard named Naismith Men's Player of the Week for the third time this season

Payton Pritchard named Naismith Men's Player of the Week for the third time this season

Payton Pritchard is the best men’s basketball player in America. OK, at least this week. 

The Oregon Ducks star guard was named Naismith Men’s Player of the Week after averaging 20 points, 5.5 rebounds, three assists and two steals as Oregon went 2-0 for the week.

This is his third National Player of the Week nod this season. 

Pritchard helped lead the Ducks to back-to-back wins after consecutive losses to Stanford and Oregon State. Pritchard added a second double-double and another thrilling victory to his resume as the Ducks mounted a second half comeback from 14 points down to top then No. 16 Colorado, 68-60. The victory over the Buffaloes was also his 100th career win in a Ducks uniform

Pritchard had the hot hand again on Sunday, finishing 8-of-13 from the field and 5-of-9 from behind the arc for 25 points to help his No. 17 Ducks crush Utah, 80-62. 

“These two games were must-wins for us, obviously, to keep in the hunt for a conference championship,” Pritchard said after Sunday’s win. “We needed to get these and bounce back.”

The win over Utah was also a monumental moment for Pritchard’s career at Oregon. His 25 points gave him 1,810 total points, fifth in school history. He is the only Pac-12 player to have 1800 points, 500 rebounds and 600 assists. 

Oregon remains (20-6, 9-4 Pac-12) a perfect 14-0 at Matthew Knight Arena and is tied with Colorado for top of the Pac-12 standings with five games left in the regular season. The Ducks moved up to No. 14 in this week's AP poll. 

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.

Why No. 14 Oregon couldn't stop the bleeding against Oregon State in Civil War loss

Why No. 14 Oregon couldn't stop the bleeding against Oregon State in Civil War loss

CORVALLIS, Oregon - Basketball is a game of runs. It’s about how you respond when your opponent has all the momentum: do you shut down or stop the bleeding.

In the case tonight for Oregon, it was poor timing paired with poor execution. 

The Beavers outscored the Ducks 33-13 in the final 14:50 left in the game. It was the combination of Tres Tinkle and Ethan Thompson’s sharp-shooting on the perimeter paired with Kylor Kelley on the inside that Oregon had no response for defensively. 

If it felt like there was a gaping hole in the paint when Oregon was on defense, it was probably due to two of Oregon’s bigs being out: the 6-foot-11 freshman center N’Faly Dante is still battling an injury that has kept him out since the Washington game on January 18; sophomore Francis Okoro was also absent as he is in Nigeria attending his father’s funeral, who passed away back in December.

Oregon head coach Dana Altman hopes to have Okoro back this week. As for Dante, he hopes he'll be "healthy one of these days" with no set timetable for return.

That left 6-foot-7, redshirt senior Shakur Juiston and 6-foot-8 freshman Chandler Lawson to guard the 7-foot Kylor Kelley. Down the stretch, Altman had to switch the rotation and go smaller with four guards. Kelley took advantage with simultaneous dunks and a layup during that Oregon scoring drought.

Offensively, that’s on me. We’re just not getting any flow that second half. We take the 10-point lead and then 13 points the rest of the game. Not getting very good shots, not executing anything out of timeouts - we had two turnovers out of two timeouts. — Dana Altman

It’s not just a battle inside amongst bigs. Kelley’s presence alone is enough to steer drives away from the hoop, but there still has to be that threat of driving the ball inside from the guards. Pritchard, who has been shooting 40% from 3-PT range this season, was held to just 1-for-8 from downtown. As a team, the Ducks were 7-of-23 from three-point range.

We got to get better inside finishing for guards, bigs, we just got to be more dominant in there. We got to get in the paint more, passing it, driving it. — Payton Pritchard

What does this loss mean for Oregon? Besides a drop in both the national rankings and Pac-12 conference standings, Oregon has a huge opportunity coming up. Of the remaining seven conference games on their schedule, the Ducks will play five at home: host No. 24 Colorado and Utah; then on the road at the Arizona schools; and then back home for a three-game homestand hosting Oregon State, CAL and Stanford.

We got five games at home out of the next seven… let’s make something happen. — Payton Pritchard 

UP NEXT: The Ducks host No. 24 Colorado on Thursday night, tip-off set for 6 p.m. (PT) at Matthew Knight Arena.

Payton Pritchard becomes program’s all-time leader in assists in the most special way

Payton Pritchard becomes program’s all-time leader in assists in the most special way

Add another chapter to the illustrious collegiate career of Payton Pritchard.

This time, the four-year starting point guard becomes the program’s all-time leader in assists.

Let’s paint the picture: The No. 11 Ducks are down on the road to the California Golden Bears. Pritchard is held to only two points in the first half, but you knew the Bears couldn’t contain the senior for long. He came out firing in the second half finishing with 21 points and dropping eight assists.

But it was one of those assists that was just a little more special than the others. It led to Pritchard breaking another record but it was how it happened that made it so special. On a fast break, Pritchard found his life-long friend, high school teammate at West Linn in Portland, Oregon, and now college teammate Anthony Mathis who drilled a three-pointer. A play the two have probably run countless times and at every level.

You love to see it. 

That's something that I'm going to remember forever. But I couldn't have done it without a lot of great teammates hitting shots. -- Payton Pritchard told reporters after the game

Pritchard now has 617 assists and counting with still about half a season to play. He is averaging 19.8 points and 5.9 assists per game and is one of just three active D1 players averaging 9.0 points, 5.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game.

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

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

The Ducks are ascending once again.

After sweeping the Los Angeles schools at Matthew Knight Arena this past weekend, the Ducks moved up one spot to No. 11 in the Associated Press Poll.

Oregon (17-4, 6-2 Pac-12) entered the weekend ranked No. 12 after losing in Pullman and narrowly defeating Washington in overtime. 

What's better than one overtime? Two overtimes.

Versus USC: 79-70 2OT WIN

The Ducks outlasted the Trojans in a war of attrition Thursday night winning in double-overtime. Guard Payton Pritchard became the first player in Pac-12 history to record 1,500+ points, 600+ assists, and 500+ rebounds in a career. To defeat the Trojans, he scored 24 points, dished out seven assists and got two steals.  

[RELATED: Instant Analysis: Payton Pritchard sets record, Chris Duarte balls out in win over USC]

However, it was guard Chris Duarte that led Oregon to victory recording one of the more wild stat lines you'll see this season: 30 points, 11 rebounds, and EIGHT steals. Duarte and Pritchard scored all of Oregon's points in double overtime. 

[RELATED: Chris Duarte’s 30 points wasn’t the best part of his game vs. USC]

Versus UCLA: 96-75 WIN

After a stressful win over the Trojans, the Ducks cruised to the program's largest victory over UCLA since 2003, winning 96-75 at Matthew Knight Arena. The Bruins turned the ball over a season-high 23 times, including 15 Oregon steals. Duarte had six of those by himself to go along with 24 points. 

UP NEXT: Oregon travels to Berkeley to play the California Golden Bears (9-10, 3-3 Pac-12) at 6:00 p.m. PT on Thursday, before traveling to Palo Alto to play Stanford (15-4, 4-2 Pac-12) at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday. 

Talkin’ Ducks: Ernie Kent says Payton Pritchard ‘epitomizes what a point guard is'

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Talkin’ Ducks: Ernie Kent says Payton Pritchard ‘epitomizes what a point guard is'

What’s better than one Oregon legend on Talkin’ Ducks? Two.

In this week’s Talkin’ Ducks podcast, host Jordan Kent is joined by his father Ernie Kent, former Ducks basketball coach from 1997-2010. Ernie recounts the toughest environments he ever traveled to (hint: one of them is in Washington), the growth of parity in college basketball and Payton Prtichard’s impact on Oregon.

Pritchard is coming off one of his best performances of the year. The Player of the Year candidate nailed a three from deep to complete a 16-point comeback in overtime over Washington in Seattle last week. Ernie says he kept his eyes on coach Dana Altman, who didn’t even flinch during Pritchard’s 26-foot dagger.

“I saw Dana just stay nice and calm because he trusted a very good point guard, who knew in the moment, why let Washington set up that zone with athletes up top," Ernie recalled. "He pulled up with total confidence and ended up winning the game. To me, that’s a senior point guard who knows the moment, knows the play and more importantly, his coach trusts him to run the show.”

Ernie says he’s seen Pritchard evolve over the years. He first watched him at the USA Basketball tryouts in Colorado Springs during his freshman year.

“His work ethic, his ability to understand the position—it’s very difficult playing the point guard,” Ernie said. “He has really epitomized to me what a point guard is. He’s smart, he’s tough, he understands the game.”

The two also discussed how elite players like Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum slipped through the crack when it came to recruiting in the Pac-12 Conference. You can listen to the full podcast below.

After all this time, the Pac-12 still has no answers for Payton Pritchard

After all this time, the Pac-12 still has no answers for Payton Pritchard

EUGENE, OR - If you look very, very closely at Payton Pritchard’s shoes, you just may see a small spark of lightning with his first-step quickness. It’s something that has terrorized opponents for four years running. Pritchard has put several defenders on skates with a simple jab step and drive in his basketball career. The 6-foot-2 senior isn’t the biggest player on the court, but can create the separation he needs to get his shot off with that speedy first step.

Pritchard found his shot on Saturday night vs. the visiting Arizona State Sun Devils. Guards Remy Martin and Rob Edwards have faced Pritchard for at least two seasons, but once again Pritchard prevailed dropping a season-high 29 points and grabbing six rebounds.

His performance carried No. 9 Oregon (14-3, 3-1 Pac-12) past Arizona State (10-5, 1-2 Pac-12) 78-69 at Matthew Knight Arena.

Pritchard is a “gym rat.” The type of player to show up early and stay late putting up shots. And it’s paying off this season, averaging 19.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game.

Not only does Oregon Coach Dana Altman have the benefit of consistency and leadership with Pritchard, but a player of that caliber and at the point guard position, who runs the offense and controls the pace of the play, is a huge advantage. And his teammates are reaping the benefits. 

Payton is a senior. He’s been doing this for four years now. He knows what he’s supposed to do. It’s a hard matchup to guard Payton. He works hard, comes in before practice and be the last person to leave sometimes. He works really hard. — sophomore Francis Okoro

As for the rest of the Pac-12, this is the fourth year opponents have had to face Pritchard. Slowing down his quick first step is one thing, shutting him down is another. 

“It’s going to be hard to guard Payton one-on-one,” Okoro adds with a smile on his face.

UP NEXT: The Ducks fly north to face the Washington State Cougars (10-7, 1-3 Pac-12) on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. (PT) in Pullman, Washington.

Accolades rolling in for No. 8 Oregon men’s basketball, Payton Pritchard

Accolades rolling in for No. 8 Oregon men’s basketball, Payton Pritchard

Three days after Oregon’s historic 71-70 win at then-No. 5 Michigan, the nation is still taking notice. After the Ducks moved up to No. 8 in the AP Poll Top 25 and senior guard Payton Pritchard earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors, the team has earned the NABC Division I National Team of the Week.

The win over Michigan marked the best regular season non-conference victory for the Ducks, defeating a top-5 non-conference team for the first time in program history. The Ducks have now defeated three top-15 teams away from home this season.

Pritchard was also named the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week on Tuesday. 15 of the final 17 points scored for Oregon came from Pritchard and his late game heroics. He finished with 23 points four assists and three steals in the win. But arguably the most impressive part of his game on Saturday was his fearlessness getting to the hoop and finishing through contact. Pritchard attempted one three-pointer and made only one free throw of his 23 points.

[RELATED]: Why Oregon is a legitimate contender for a deep NCAA Tournament run

Pritchard is averaging 19.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game this season.