EUGENE, Oregon — Payton Pritchard’s career-high 20 points and eight assists led Oregon (4-0) to victory against Ball State, 95-71, on Sunday night in front of 6,916 at Matthew Knight Arena. With the home win, the Ducks extend their nation-best home win-streak to 46 games.
UO started slow, but a 16-0 run at the end of the first half showcased their continued unselfish play on the floor. Overall, Oregon shot 49 percent from the field (31-of-63) and 40 percent (10-of-25) from downtown.
“We turned up the defense a little bit and our ball movement was better,” stated Dana Altman.
The West Linn product led all scorers with a game-high 20 points, eight dimes, four boards and two steals. It was the most points he’s scored in a college basketball game.
Payton concluded his scorching evening 7-of-11 from the floor and 2-of-3 from deep. Pritchard nailed 4-of-5 from the stripe in a game-high 30 minutes of action.
“I thought he did a good job moving the ball,” said UO’s head coach. “Payton played well. Defensively, he did some good things. He had a good game.”
Oregon’s defense derailed the BSU effort, as the Ducks recorded eight blocked shots in total. However, every swat came from a player that did NOT start.
The ‘Bench Mob’ amassed eight rejections with Kenny Wooten’s four leading the way. Victor Bailey Jr. had a career-high two, while M.J. Cage and Abu Kigab each recorded one.
.@OregonMBB “Block Party” for the BENCH MOB! Incredibly, UO has recorded 8 blocked shots tonight vs BSU but not one has come from a starter! @wootensquad @VBailey_BallIsL @mjcage47 @SultanOfTheEast #UOBlockParty— Quack Addict (@TheQuackFiend) November 20, 2017
UO’s bench outscored Ball State’s by 14 points, 42-28.
The Ducks had five players in double figures and fell just five points shy of scoring 100 for their third straight contest. After Pritchard, it was Elijah Brown who impressed with 17 points, five boards, a dime and a steal on 6-of-11 shooting from the field.
Bailey tallied 16 points off the bench, as the freshman continues to grow. The southpaw was 4-of-13 from the field, but did not miss a shot from the free throw line (6-of-6). He added five boards, two blocked shots and a dime in 25 minutes.
In the first half, Bailey drilled a 3-pointer while absorbing the foul. He buried the charity bucket for a rare 4-point play. His defensive intensity was a welcomed sight for Altman.
MiKyle McIntosh was incredibly efficient, making 5-of-7 from the floor and 1-of-2 from deep. He added five boards, a stolen pass and an assist in 18 minutes.
Junior Paul White was the fifth Duck to reach double figures, finishing with 11 points. The Chicago product shot 80 percent (4-of-5) on Sunday night from MKA.
Keith Smith drew the start. He scored five points with a steal and a board in 13 minutes.
Oregon hit the gas for the best stretch of basketball they have played this season. With the Ducks enduring their largest deficit of the young season, 29-24, the offense found it’s rhythm to the tune of a 16-0 run. When BSU tallied their next point, they were trailing 40-30.
In the first 20 minutes, Oregon shot 46 percent from both the field and 3-point territory.
Bailey Jr. and Elijah led all scores with nine points each. Payton Pritchard had eight points and MiKyle McIntosh recorded seven in the first half.
The Ducks had three blocked shots in the first 20 minutes, including one by Wooten.
Wooten concluded his 21 minutes on the floor with seven rebounds, six points, a game-high four blocked shots and a stolen pass.
Oregon 95 Ball State 71 Ducks shoot 50% FG 40% 3FG with 5 players in double figures before the #PK80 pic.twitter.com/Paferi9BH7— Quack Addict (@TheQuackFiend) November 20, 2017
True freshman Troy Brown scored a season-low four points on 1-of-5 shooting. Yet, he did secure a team-high eight rebounds. Brown added three dimes and a stolen pass in 24 minutes.
The defense held Ball State shooters to 37 percent (21-of-56) overall, including 25 percent (7-of-27) from 3-point land.
Oregon continued their steady shooting from the charity stripe, as well. Overall, the Ducks shot 82 percent from the line (23-of-28) and were continually aggressive to draw the fouls.
Tayler Persons was the high-scorer for BSU with 14 points on 5-of-13 from the floor.
Oddly, Kyle Mallers scored 10 points in the game but not one came from the field. He was 10-for-10 from the free throw line.
It was a sloppy start for the Ducks and there were spurts when they allowed BSU chances to get back in the game. BSU won the points off turnovers 20-17. Not to mention, the turnover margin ended in a 13-13 tie. That will need to be cleaned up before the competition level is set to rise over the next week.
Officially, Oregon sent Ball State to the charity stripe 29 times. They converted on 22 of them (76 percent).
“You can't sugarcoat it. 29 free throws is 29 free throws. You can't let good teams shoot 29 free throws,” Altman said emphatically. “Our turnovers led to 20 points, so you take 22 points they scored at the line, 20 points off turnovers and there's 42 of their 71 right there.”
Regardless, this team is so impressive. The way they share the ball is making some believe they could be more offensively diverse than the 2016-17 team. It is way too early for that talk, but Altman’s young team has a great deal of upside.
Ready or not? Here comes the best test of the season with the most highly-decorated regular season tournament in college basketball history. The fun will begin and end in the state of Oregon. #RipCity
“Whether we've made enough progress to compete on that level, we'll find out starting Thursday night,” said Altman. “It would be nice to get in the winner's bracket simply because of the teams potentially you would play. I'm just worried about us competing and playing really athletic teams, and doing a much better job defensively than we've been doing.”
The Ducks move to 55-2 all-time against non-conference opponents at MKA. Dana Altman is 114-13 at home.
HIGHLIGHT | Elijah Brown is feeling it as he hits one from deep in transition! #GoDucks pic.twitter.com/vGGjnCXXWV— Oregon Basketball (@OregonMBB) November 20, 2017
HIGHLIGHT | Troy Brown kicking things off for the Ducks with a dunk through traffic! #GoDucks pic.twitter.com/vqykaMm4ea— Oregon Basketball (@OregonMBB) November 20, 2017
Payton Pritchard to Kenny Wooten
HIGHLIGHT | Payton Pritchard to Kenny Wooten for the SLAM! #GoDucks pic.twitter.com/WRUvI03n0I— Oregon Basketball (@OregonMBB) November 20, 2017
The greatest collection of talent for a regular season college basketball tournament will now assemble in Portland. Next up for Oregon (4-0) is Connecticut (3-0) in the inaugural PK80 International from the Moda Center on Thanksgiving.
It will be a rematch from last season at the Maui Invitational. The Ducks defeated UConn 79-69. Tip is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. PT on Thursday night. The game will be televised live on ESPNU.
Stay tuned, if you want to; Twitter @TheQuackFiend Gram @eugene_levys_eyebrows