For the Oregon Ducks, Payton Pritchard has been the catalyst again in his Senior Season, but on Saturday night he needed some help as the Duck topped Arizona in Overtime.
After losing at Arizona State on Thursday night, Oregon needed a win to keep pace in the Pac-12 race with just a few games left in the regular season. Two key players came to answer the bell in a game that saw 18 lead changes and was tied nine times. It was one of the best Pac-12 games of the season and it even had some free basketball with an overtime period.
The Oregon Ducks were outplayed on the floor as Arizona shot better both inside the paint and from beyond the arc. Oregon won the free throw battle and in that, won the game that saw Arizona at the free-throw line at the end of overtime needing two free throws to win the game. The Wildcats missed both giving the Ducks the win, and another overtime win this season.
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Payton Pritchard finished with 38 points, a career-high and Shakur Juiston scored all of his 14 points, going 6 for 9 from the floor, in overtime for the victory. Neither team led by more than 7 points and it was Pritchard who powered the Ducks with 11 key points in the final minutes of regulation to get the game to overtime. Pritchard had 20 of his points in the first half including a three-pointer just before halftime to give the Ducks a 36-33 lead.
With several top teams losing this weekend, including both Baylor and Gonzaga, I expect that the Ducks may find themselves close to or back into the Top 10 with the win. With March Madness right around the corner, the Ducks have done one again what they have in the past winning now eight of their last ten games and finding ways to win with grit and tenacity when they have to.
The Oregon Ducks get a bit of a break this week having to prepare for one game against Oregon State on Thursday night at Matthew Knight Arena before hosting Cal and Stanford the final week of the regular season. Oregon will look for their 15th straight home win Thursday vs the Beavers. (8pm PT, ESPN2)