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Oregon Wins Season Opener over Fresno State, 71-57

Payton Pritchard and Dana Altman broke a couple records in the victory over the Bulldogs

Oregon v Virginia Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Oregon starts off the season on a good note with a win over Fresno State, a program that will make some noise in the Mountain West and surprise a few teams in that conference. Nate Grimes led the way for the Bulldogs with 13 points but the story of the game was the records broken by a couple of Oregon legends. First, Payton Pritchard passed Jim Barnett (1,325 points from 1963-1966) for 18th on the all-time scoring list. I hit up Barnett on Twitter to see how he felt about Pritchard passing him in the Oregon history book and his comment was an absolute gold remark.

You got to love it. Jim is one of the greatest players to ever put on the green and yellow.

As for Dana Altman, he passed Ernie Kent to become the winningest head coach in Oregon basketball history at 236 wins. Congratulations to Coach Altman who is in his 10th season as the head coach for Oregon. I’m sure he thinks nothing of it and he’s already getting ready for the next game.

Now, let’s dive into what happened in tonight’s matchup...

  • Fresno State senior point guard Noah Blackwell, who started 22 games last season, did not play against the Ducks due to a violation of institutional policy (according to the Fresno Bee). A major loss for the Bulldogs in this one.
  • Francis Okoro and Payton Pritchard were active early on in this one. Okoro looks a lot more comfortable on the offensive end.
  • Sloppy first half for both teams but that is always expected in the first game, especially for an Oregon team with so many new faces.
  • Chris Duarte hit the first Oregon three-pointer with 8 minutes left in the first half. The Ducks missed their first 5 attempts before that.
  • Oregon was playing deep into the shot clock on most possessions due to Fresno State’s strong defensive effort.
  • Ducks did work on the glass in the first half. They held a 26-13 edge in rebounds (41-35 by the end of the game).
  • Pritchard is picking up right where he left off from last March. He played a complete game against a strong Fresno State team. 24 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals in the senior’s season debut.
  • Pitchard and Okoro (10 points, 10 rebounds) are looking like the 1-2 punch for Oregon this season. The duo was the main reason Oregon pulled away in the second half.
  • Aguir Aqau for Fresno State had three highlight blocks and is an elite defender.
  • Chris Duarte is going to make a smooth transition from the JUCO to D1 level. He finished with 16 points and 5 rebounds in his Oregon debut.
  • Only 7 bench points for the Ducks in this one (all from Will Richardson). CJ Walker, Chandler Lawson, and Addison Patterson each put up a goose egg. Lok Wur didn’t see any time on the floor.
  • The two grad transfers, Shakur Juiston (5 points, 6 rebounds) and Anthony Mathis (9 points), looked a bit lost out there but it will take some time for them to feel completely comfortable in the offense.

Oregon looks to continue their positive start to the 2019-2020 season as they will be going up against another loaded Mountain West opponent at Matthew Knight Arena this upcoming Saturday (November 9th).

Next Game - Boise State @ #15 Oregon 11:00 PM ET, PAC12 Network

*Arden Cravalho is a Gonzaga University graduate from the Bay Area... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho