Eugene, OR – The No. 13-ranked Oregon Ducks looked to seal their third regular season title in the past six seasons with a sweep of the Bay Area schools. They still would need a UCLA loss to win the outright title. First up was the California, who came in to the contest having swept Utah and Colorado the previous weekend. The Ducks seemingly could not miss as they shot 60 percent from the field and 71 percent from distance. Five players scored in doubles figures as Oregon rolled to a 90-56 victory Thursday night at Matthew Knight Arena in front of 7,651 fans.
The Ducks came out focused and determined from the start making their first five shots of the game. After leading 25-18 Oregon went on a 21-0 run that was topped off with an offensive rebound by Addison Patterson with a put back and a foul. He would complete the three-point play. The Bears were held scoreless for over a five minute stretch. Oregon ended the first half shooting an excellent 68 percent clip on 17-for-25 from the field and led 46-20 at the half.
The run in first half was fueled once again by Oregon’s senior and potential Pac-12 player of the year Payton Pritchard. Pritchard hit a deep three from the wing on the fast break after receiving a pass from teammate Chandler Lawson. Pritchard continues to impress the crowd with his ability to consistently make 3s beyond the NBA three-point line. Pritchard scored 13 first half points on 5-for-6 shooting. The 6-2 point guard, recorded 20 points (6-for-8 FG) and nine assists. He continues to lead the conference in both categories.
Sophomore Will Richardson was questionable for tonight’s game after an ankle sprain in their previous victory over rival Oregon State. He looked agile and did not show any signs of the injury hindering his play. In transition, he took on the entire Bears team and took it coast to coast to finish with the lay-in on the right side and got fouled. He finished with an efficient 13 points, shooting 5-for-7 from the field and pulling in five rebounds.
Matt Bradley of the Bears is ranked fifth in the conference for scoring (17.8 PPG) and averaged 23.5 points last weekend against the mountain schools. Slowing down Bradley was a top priority for Oregon. He still led the team in scoring on the night, totaling 15 points (5-of-11 FG) and four rebounds, but the Ducks did not give up anything easy to the sophomore.
California would make a run of their own early in the second half as they were able to cut the lead to 15 points with a three pointer by Kareem South. They went on a quick 7-0 spurt in 1:12, trailing 58-43 with 11:31 remaining. Grant Anticevich, a 6-9 junior, hit several shots including a three from the wing. He added in 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting.
In the second half, after the run by the Bears, Oregon went back in attack mode with several players contributing to close out the game. Anthony Mathis got back on track as the Ducks three-point sharpshooter made 5-of-6 from the perimeter, scoring 17 points. Patterson who has continued to gain confidence and grow as a consistent scorer off the bench, finished with 13 points (3-for-4 FG). He shot 6-for-7 from the strike and he has been more aggressive attacking the hoop over the past few weeks. Oregon would end the game by outscoring the Bears 32-13 in the final 11 minutes of the contest.
The Ducks also got some scoring from the frontcourt where points have been hard to come by over the course of the season. Shakur Juiston scored 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the field. The two freshman, Lawson and N’Faly Dante each chipped in six points on the night.
Oregon (23-7, 12-5) will host Stanford (20-10, 9-8) on Saturday, looking to clinch the number one seed in the Pac-12 tournament which starts next week in Las Vegas. California (13-17, 7-10) will head to Corvallis to finish the regular season against Oregon State (16-13, 6-11).
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