The Oregon Ducks (17-8, 7-5) finish off an impressive week with back-to-back victories over the Washington schools. With an 84-57 win over the Washington State Cougars (9-15, 1-11), momentum is swinging in favor of the Ducks for the upcoming road trip.
After defeating Oregon State at home, coach Dana Altman stressed how his team needed to play with a sense of urgency. The message appeared to have reached the Ducks after defeating Cal but fell to the wayside in a lopsided defeat against Stanford.
In the wins against the Washington schools, the urgency is now apparent as Oregon looks to make a final push to keep the pressure on teams in front of them. By far, these wins by Oregon are the best in Pac-12 play this season.
Payton Pritchard scored 19 points and added 11 rebounds to lead the Ducks over the Cougars. Pritchard has never been afraid to take charge in the scoring department. His passing ability, however, as the Ducks’ floor general makes him a problem for opponents.
As the Ducks move closer towards the end of the regular season, Pritchard must have consistent performances. Oregon is on the outside of the NCAA Tournament.
Troy Brown recorded back-to-back double-doubles as he is showing the promise he brought to Eugene at the beginning of the season. Brown struggled at the start of conference play but has increasingly gotten better. He had 16 points and ten rebounds against the Cougars.
MiKyle McIntosh and Victor Bailey Jr. each had 13 points. Kenny Wooten chipped in ten points along with three blocks.
Washington State was without leading scorer, Robert Franks, who suffered a knee injury against the Beavers in Corvallis. Malachi Flynn led the Cougars with 16 points, and Viont’e Daniels added 11.
The Cougars were within five points of the Ducks’ lead in the second half, but could not find a way to sustain pressure. Along with playing with a sense of urgency, Coach Altman wanted his team to transition better off the boards. Oregon outscored Washington State with the transition game, 21-3. A significant factor was the 11 steals the Ducks forced.
Oregon faces a critical four-game stretch with the Los Angeles schools on the road and the Arizona schools at home. Hopefully, the Ducks take the positive momentum with them.
USC is first up on Thursday. Tipoff begins at 6:00 p.m. PST with a telecast on ESPN2.