Ducks turn the tide
After Oregon built a 16-point halftime lead while shooting 65.2 percent from the field, Dana Altman complimented the Ducks on shot selection.
“Then we start the second half with three quick, bad three-pointers and never got in the same rhythm again,” Altman noted.
Oregon banked a large enough lead in the first 20 minutes to survive a drastically different second half and defeat Oregon State 66-57 Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd of 12,364 at Matthew Knight Arena.
“Our ball movement wasn’t as good, but we still won by about 10,” Oregon point guard Payton Pritchard said.
That was the biggest takeaway for the Ducks (14-7, 4-4), who secured a season split with Oregon State (11-9, 3-5) and jumped the Beavers in the standings while getting back to .500 in Pac-12 play with their second straight win.
Oregon was 15-for-23 from the field in the first half to take a 41-25 lead, but made only six field goals in the second half while scoring 25 points. The Ducks turned nine OSU turnovers into 17 points in the opening half, then forced just three turnovers in the final 20 minutes.
“The biggest difference was our activity on defense,” Altman said. “We had 17 deflections that turned into 17 points in the first half. In the second half, we had six deflections and got two points off turnovers. We got real stagnant offensively and had some bad turnovers.”
Elijah Brown led the Ducks with 20 points and Paul White had 17 off the bench. MiKyle McIntosh and Payton Pritchard have paced the Ducks on offense in recent weeks, but Oregon took its halftime lead without any points from either of those two although Pritchard had five assists in the first half.
“I was just getting my teammates going,” Pritchard said. “I let the game come to me and did not force anything. If I see a lane, I will take it, but guys hit shots and we got up by 16 so I did not see any need to take a shot that was not there.”
Brown scored 18 points in the first half and White added 11 as Oregon scored 14 points in a row while holding OSU scoreless for nearly six minutes to take a 27-11 lead. The margin reached 37-16 on a three-pointer by Brown with 3:54 left in the first half.
“The ball movement was good in the first half, and luckily I was on the receiving end,” White said. “In the second half, we got stagnant. We didn’t have the same fire, but we were able to rally together. That is what we want to see from this team, sticking together in adverse situations.”
One week after Oregon let an 18-point lead against UCLA get down to one before holding on for a 94-91 victory, the Ducks kept Oregon State from building as much drama in the second half.
Oregon had two points in the first nine minutes of the second half as OSU closed within 46-37 following seven straight points from freshman Ethan Thompson.
McIntosh ended Oregon’s drought with a three-pointer that took three bounces on the rim before falling through the net. Kenny Wooten got a dunk, and Pritchard drove for a layup and added a free throw to put the Ducks ahead 54-39 with 8:18 left to play.
The Ducks had just one field goal the rest of the way, but made eight free throws and kept Oregon State from getting closer than eight points.
After Stephen Thompson Jr. drove for a layup to cut the Ducks’ lead to 60-52 with 3:23 to play, OSU had three shots to make it a two-possession game and missed them all.
Wooten made a free throw for the Ducks before White’s jumper pushed Oregon’s lead back into double digits with less than a minute to play. Oregon was 6-for-24 from the field in the second half.
“We only made six?” Pritchard said when told of that statistic. “I don’t know how to explain that. I thought we made more shots than that, but we got stops when we needed. It definitely came down to defense.”
Stephen Thompson Jr. had 16 points to pace the Beavers, who shot 43.8 percent from the field, including 3-for-17 on three-pointers. Ethan Thompson added 13, and Tres Tinkle had 11 points, six rebounds and five assists as the Beavers missed an opportunity to sweep the Ducks for the first time since 2009-10.
The Ducks held Drew Eubanks to four points and only three field-goal attempts.
“Rebounds were even tonight and they beat us by seven up there,” Altman said. “We defended the three-pointer better than we did up there, and I didn’t think they got very good looks. A better effort defensively and even out the rebounds. Those two things go a long way.”