After narrowly hanging onto victory in overtime against the Washington State Cougars, the NCAA Tournament is still alive for the Oregon Ducks. Fatigue will be a factor this evening as the Ducks take on the Utah Utes in a quarterfinal matchup of the Pac-12 Tournament.
Recap: Ducks defeat Cougars in overtime, 64-62
Kenny Wooten came in the clutch with a couple of defensive plays to thwart the Cougars’ attempt to tie the game in the final seconds of overtime. In a game where both teams were below average, one side would make an impact play. In this case, Wooten shined the brightest at the end.
Payton Pritchard got redemption, hitting the game-winning shot to be the difference maker in the overtime frame. Wooten made two blocks at the other end to send the Ducks into the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals.
Overall, the Ducks did not play well in making a case to earn a seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Ducks only mustered 17 points in the first half and trailed the Cougars by seven at halftime.
Washington State previously beat Oregon last week up in Pullman. The confidence carried over for Ernie Kent’s side and almost came away with another victory. Pritchard, however, chose a different ending, as the Cougars’ found themselves exiting the tournament early.
Oregon used a second-half outburst in finding a way to remain in the game against Washington State. The game was tied, 53-53, when regulation ended.
Pritchard and MiKyle McIntosh each scored 18 points and Elijah Brown chipped in ten points for the Ducks. Malachi Flynn led the Cougars with 22 points.
Preview: Utah Utes
The Utah Utes earned a first-round bye and are the No. 3 seed in the tournament. Utah is one of the hotter teams entering the competition, winning six of their last seven games of the season.
But coach Dana Altman has the Utes’ number since taking the job at Oregon. The Ducks are 12-2 under Altman against Utah.
For the Ducks, fatigue after a long night could be an advantage for the Utes. Oregon must have a strong performance at the start to have a chance this evening. The Ducks may try to push the tempo early since the Utes have been off and only practicing.
Oregon found a way to win against Washington State and will likely have to do so again with Utah.
Tipoff begins at 8:30 p.m. PST with a telecast on FS1.