Eugene, OR – In a contest that was fast-paced throughout, the Oregon Ducks outlasted the Portland State Vikings 96-84 in front of an anxious crowd of 6,905 in Eugene. Oregon only led by two points with 6:37 left in the game before they started to pull away. Elijah Brown scored a season-high 22 points to lead five Ducks in double-figures. 6-8 freshman Kenny Wooten came off the bench to score 18 points on perfect 8-of-8 shooting from the field that included five dunks. Wooten added six blocked shots and five rebounds. Oregon prevailed despite allowing a 26-point second half by 6-4 senior Bryce Canda. Canda, who scored a game-high 31 points, made 9-of-15 second half shots including 5-of 7 from deep.
This Oregon (8-3) team seems to play better at a fast pace. They connected on 50 percent of their field goals and assisted on 27 of their 32 made shots. In the post-game conference coach Dana Altman indicated that he thought the Ducks’ ball movement was good and that they didn’t take many bad shots.
Portland State (8-3) impressed us at the PK80 tournament in Portland where they led Duke at halftime before losing, took a good Butler team to overtime before losing by two points after missing a three-pointer at the buzzer and easily defeated Stanford. The Vikings play without much size but are pesky, very active on defense, push the ball on offense and have a host of good shooters. Besides Canda, 6-4 Deontae North scored 24 points after putting up 18 in the first half. North connected on 5-of-13 three-pointers and the team was 13-of-34 from deep. Portland State should contend for the Big Sky Conference title.
6-7 freshman Troy Brown Jr. narrowly missed a triple-double, finishing with ten points, ten rebounds and nine assists. He would have had a tenth assist but Elijah Brown missed an uncontested layup. Point guard Payton Pritchard was solid, playing a game-high 38 minutes in which he scored 18 points to go along with seven rebounds and seven assists. Pritchard made 4-of-7 3s including three in a row in the beginning of the game. 6-9 Paul White was the other Duck in double-figures with 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting. Oregon shot a respectable 40.7 percent from deep (11-of-27). Oregon out-rebounded Portland State by eight but that was primarily due to the Vikings missing 12 more shots than Oregon. Portland State was active on the boards and had a +3 advantage in offensive rebounds.
Oregon will get a good test in their next game as they travel to face Fresno State (9-2) on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs play more of a half-court game on offense which might be more challenging for the Ducks. Oregon’s last loss came at home to another member of the Mountain West conference, Boise State.
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