Eugene, OR – The No. 14-ranked Oregon Ducks got revenge against the Oregon State Beavers Thursday night at Matthew Knight Arena in front of 10,098 fans. The Ducks took complete control of the game in the second half led by guards Payton Pritchard and Will Richardson. The prolific scorers each chipped in 15 second half points as the Ducks split the season series with the Beavers by winning 69-54. Oregon is back in first place in the Pac-12 standings with two home games remaining on their schedule. They have a chance to clinch the regular season title and a number one seed in the conference tournament.
The offense for both teams was lackluster in the first half. The Ducks did get a spark from Anthony Mathis who replaced Chris Duarte in the starting lineup. Duarte had a procedure as a result of a hand injury and is sidelined indefinitely. Mathis started the game hitting a floater in the lane, followed up by a three-pointer from the top of the key. He hit three 3s in the opening half to tally 11 points. He would end the contest scoring 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting. Oregon as a team at one point shot just 1-of-10 from the field as buckets were hard to come by, but Mathis generated some offense for the Ducks.
N’Faly Dante who has missed the past nine games for Oregon made his presence known with some small contributions. He helped the Ducks end nearly a four minute draught by posting up and throwing a laser pass to a wide open cutter Addison Patterson an easy bucket. He played only five minutes, but the team and crowd were excited to see him back in action.
Ethan Thompson had a solid first half performance for the Beavers as he scored 13 points hitting 3-of-4 from the perimeter. His ability to knock down shots from distance even with a hand in his face kept the Beavers within reach. They trailed 29-25 at the end of the first half. He wowed the crowd making a long shot from beyond half court but the shot was was reviewed and waved off. Thompson would end the night with 15 points (6-for-10 FG), six assists, and five rebounds.
Richardson and the Ducks came out firing in the second half. Richardson hit a spot up three from the wing which started a 22-4 run in the first 8:36 of the half. The run was capped off with three straight 3-pointers, two by Pritchard and a final make by Richardson. Oregon’s three-point shooting was a big part in preserving the win as they shot 48 percent on 11-of-23 from the perimeter. Richardson scored all of his 15 points in the second half and shot 6-for-14 from the field while adding four rebounds.
Pritchard was sensational again for Oregon as he continued to show off his speedy footwork and ball handling to create shots in the lane and stepping back to hit several 3s. The reigning national player of the week backed up his 38-point performance against Arizona by recording 23 points (9-for-18 FG), three rebounds and three assists. Pritchard is trying to join some elite company by leading the Pac-12 in scoring and assists in a season. He would join Oregon State’s Gary Payton and Arizona’s Damon Stoudamire and Jason Terry as the only players to achieve this mark.
Oregon State’s senior Tres Tinkle battled tough in the second half as his efforts did not go unnoticed. He recorded his 27th career double-double on the night with 14 points on 5-for-11 shooting and pulled down 10 rebounds. Tinkle is now six points away from passing Gary Payton to become the all-time leading scorer in Oregon State history.
Oregon’s win was highlighted by winning in a few key statistical categories. One, the Ducks forced 15 turnovers and scored 15 points off of Oregon State’s errors. On the flip side, Oregon took care of the basketball only turning the ball over a total of four times. In addition, the Ducks aggressively attacked the hoop in the second meeting between the two schools as they outscored the Beavers 30-20 in the paint.
Oregon (22-7, 11-5) will host California (12-16, 6-9) on March 5th with a chance to gain full possession at the top of the Pac-12 standings. Oregon State (15-13, 5-11) will head back home looking to sweep the season series against Stanford (19-9, 8-7).
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