Eugene, OR – The big news prior to Oregon’s game with Boise State was their star freshman center Bol Bol’s appearance in a sweatshirt and a left leg boot, In Bol’s absence several Ducks stepped up and their defensive effort in the second half provided the difference in their 66-54 victory over the Broncos (4-6), Payton Pritchard (19 points), Paul White (14 points) and Victor Bailey Jr. (13 points) had solid games. Shooting guard Alex Hobbs led Boise State with 21 points, connecting on 5-of-7 3s. He had made only three from deep this season coming into the game.
The Ducks turned things around in the second half after a sodden first half that ended with a 28-24 Bronco lead. Oregon shot only 8-of-23 (35 percent) in the half, making only 2-of-9 from deep. They were out-rebounded by six in the half. The second half was a different story with Oregon extending their defense to hold the Broncos to 1-of-6 on 3s and 31 percent shooting overall. Their defense also helped provide opportunities on the offensive end. The Ducks shot 13-of-20 (65 percent in the half). They also turned things around on the boards with a 21-8 second half edge.
Pritchard picked up much of the offensive slack and connected on a key three-pointer that extended the lead to 11 points with 6:08 remaining. He also made a long two-pointer at the end of the shot clock with 2:10 left that basically closed the game out. Pritchard played a solid floor game with five rebounds, three steals and only one turnover. White, who has had difficulty scoring all year shot 4-of-6 from the floor and got to the foul line seven times, connecting on five. He added five rebounds, generally solid defense and led the team with a point differential of +19 while he was on the floor. It was his best effort of the year.
Bailey Jr. shot a solid 4-of-5 from the field and helped get the team going with his athleticism on several plays. Louis King (5 points, 5 rebounds) played 21 minutes in his most extensive time of the year. While King still needs to get his offensive game together after sitting out close to a year with a knee injury, he did show the ability to extend and help on defense. Francis Okoro (5 points) played 13 minutes in Bol’s absence and showed some promise. At one point he made a great block, then sprinted to the other end of the court and was fouled at the hoop after a pass from Pritchard. Kenny Wooten Jr. added five points, four rebounds, three assists and two explosive blocks that he sent into the stands.
Bol’s injury will be evaluated over the next few days. He likely won’t be in uniform when the Ducks (7-3) face Florida A&M on Tuesday night. Whether he suits up at Baylor (Dec. 21st) or in the return match at Boise State (Dec. 29th) remains to be seen.