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Ducks weather storm in 71-69 comeback victory over No. 13 Seton Hall

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NCAA Basketball: Battle 4 Atlantis-Oregon at Seton Hall Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Ducks rally back from 19-point second-half deficit to defeat No. 13 Seton Hall in opening game of the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis.

Preseason All-American guard, Myles Powell and the 4-1 Seton Hall Pirates gave Oregon it’s first true test of the season. The Ducks have beaten their previous five opponents by an average of 17.0 PPG before touching-down in the Bahamas to play the No. 13 ranked Pirates.

Powell, the senior out of Trenton, New Jersey found his groove going 4-9 in the first half while his Seton Hall teammates cleaned up his scraps at the rim. The pirates broke out to a 10 point, 28-18 lead on a Powell made jumper and layup by sophomore big-man, Ike Obiagu, with less than eight minutes remaining in the first half.

Oregon would mount a comeback headed by senior, Payton Pritchard and senior forward and fellow New Jersey native, Shakur Juiston. Pritchard and the Ducks went on a 10-0 run to bring the game back to even at 28 a piece, but a corner three by Powell gave Seton Hall a 34-30 advantage going into the second half.

Junior Guard, Chris Duarte led all Ducks in scoring with nine points in the first half.

The Ducks offensive rebounds held them within arms reach in the first half with nine of their 22 rebounds coming from the offensive glass. Oregon dominated second chance points 10-3 thanks to Juiston and five-star freshman, CJ Walker’s outstanding performance on the boards.

Walker played a major role in the comeback victory over Seton Hall. Head coach Dana Altman made the decision to sit center Francis Okoro and play Walker more heavily. His offensive ability accompanied by his work on the glass kept Oregon within striking distance.

Once again, Seton Hall’s Powell was not making it easy for the Duck defenders drop three consecutive three-pointers to extend their lead once again. This time to an even larger 19 points. And once again, not to avoid sounding like a broken record player, Pritchard and the forward combination of Juiston and Walker helped stage a second comeback.

Oregon put together a 22-9 run on Seton Hall, capped off by a Pritchard lay-in at the bucket to put the game back within three. It wasn’t till the final 1:52 that Oregon would go on a 6-0 run to finally take the lead back. Their previous lead came from a Duarte made jumper that made it 7-5 with 17:13 remaining in the first half.

Tied ball game, Pritchard tossed up a step-back three from the top of the key that only caught air. Juiston was in the right place at the right time to clean up the offensive glass for the go-ahead bucket that gave Oregon a 71-69 lead with just :18 seconds left on the clock.

Rebounding was the Ducks saving grace in game one of the Battle 4 Atlantis; out rebounding the Pirates, 39-28. While Seton Hall’s Powell went off for 32, hitting 7-15 from beyond the arch, the extra-chance buckets helped propel Oregon to multiple runs throughout the game.

Pritchard led Oregon with 16 points, but the real stars of the game were Juiston and Walker who combined for 24 points and 14 rebounds. Both finished second on the team with 12 points and it’s the first double-digit scoring performance from the highly-touted five-star.

After passing their first real test in the Battle 4 Atlantis the Ducks are in for another, well let’s just call it, battle, against the AP Poll’s No. 8 ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs. The Zags are 8-0 heading into Thanksgiving Day’s game, one team will walk off the court tomorrow night with the first blemish on their record. Who will it be?