Will Richardson and Payton Pritchard played big roles in the Oregon Basketball 74-73 win over Arizona in overtime and Pritchard had the ball in his hands in the end.
Oregon Basketball returned home after starting the Pac-12 season 1-1 on the road last week. Payton Pritchard has been the catalyst for the Ducks and would need to do it again against a talented Arizona team. A win would put the Ducks in the driver’s seat.
Arizona started the game with the ball and Zeke Nnaji opened the scoring making one of two free throws after an early Duck foul. The Wildcats would open with a 7-0 lead forcing two Oregon turnovers. Payton Pritchard had the Ducks’ first points hitting a three-pointer with just over 15 minutes left in the first half. It was a slow start of the Ducks.
Both teams hit a scoring drought with Arizona going 1 for 8 before Antony Mathis hit a three-pointer making it 11-8 Arizona. The Ducks again hit another scoring drought lasting several minutes, and the Wildcats began to push their lead. With just over nine minutes left the Ducks hit back to back baskets pulling within nine before Chris Duarte hit a layup to make the deficit 7 points.
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Midway through the first half, Oregon was hitting 29 percent from the floor. N’Faly Dante pulled the Ducks within 6 forcing an Arizona timeout and shifted the momentum that was all Wildcats early.
Chris Duarte had two big plays in the final two minutes of the first half giving Oregon four points and pulling to within three. Oregon came down with a big rebound with 30 seconds to go and lined up for the final shot. Chandler Lawson was fouled as Oregon was slowly foul shooting their way back into the game. Lawson hit one of his two free throws as the Ducks went into the break down 36-34.
The Ducks came back to shoot 39 percent from the floor after a slow start but were being outrebounded 20 to 16. The Ducks had just 5 turnovers in the first half.
Chris Duarte tied the game at 36 to start the second half and Francis Okoro gave Oregon the lead with a dunk off an Arizona turnover. Oregon found an 8-0 run while keeping Arizona off the board for close to four minutes holding a 46-43 lead.
The scoring droughts continued for both teams with the Ducks scoring after four minutes to make it 54-50. Francis Okoro then found his way inside to make it 54-52 with just over 7 minutes left in the second half.
Oregon found the crowd as there was a battle for a loose ball. Payton Pritchard and Chris Duarte hit back to back three-pointers giving the Ducks a three-point lead with 5 minutes left. It was a battle defensively with Arizona throughout as Oregon found a way to get some momentum and over 10,000 at Matthew Knight Arena were behind them.
Arizona went on a 7-0 run to take a four-point lead with just over three minutes left in the game.
In the final minute, Chris Duarte had the ball in his hand and he was surrounded by Wildcats as Dana Altman called a timeout with 44 seconds left. Payton Pritchard tied the game with 25 seconds left. The game would go to overtime tied at 66.
Payton Pritchard played a big role in overtime hitting a key free throw and finding a way to steal the ball on Arizona’s final possession to preserve the one-point win. He finished with 18 points and was 6 for 21 from the floor. Despite an off night of shooting, he did the little things well enough to help Oregon to a key early season win in Pac-12 play.
Oregon Basketball returns to the court on Saturday to take on Arizona State. Tipoff is set for 7:30 pm from Matthew Knight Arena.