Playing without the team’s star freshman center Bol Bol, Oregon men’s basketball knocked off Boise State 66-54 in Matthew Knight Arena on Saturday night. The team announced just 30 minutes prior to tip-off that Bol was unavailable for the game due to a lower-leg injury. The first of two games against each other over the next two weeks, the Ducks leaned on junior point guard Payton Pritchard (19 points and five rebounds) and contributions from a variety of others (highlighted by 25 points off the bench) in his absence to win the first round over the Broncos.
It was a lethargic first half of offense for either side, with both the Ducks and Broncos suffering from separate scoring droughts of several minutes at a time. But in the absence of Bol, Oregon got productive contributions from its bench players. With Boise State leading 15-12, Victory Bailey Jr. went on a six-point spurt to give his team the lead, turning a loose ball into a dunk and then converting a four-point play the next possession after being fouled on a three point shot. The sophomore guard combined with freshman Francis Okoro, who racked up four first-half points with more minutes available for the Ducks’ bigs, to keep their team close. But outside of the two youngster’s 4-6 shooting, the rest of the Ducks shot just 4-17 from the floor. While Oregon leaned on its depth, the Broncos were reliant on the three to take a 28-24 lead into the second half. But despite going 6-10 from deep in the opening half, Boise State shot just 4-15 from inside the arc.
Just as they did in Wednesday’s win over San Diego, Oregon jumped out of the gates in the second half, locking down the perimeter on defense and hitting seven of its first 10 shots en route to a 19-7 run in the first eight and a half minutes. But perhaps most importantly, after being out-rebounded 18-12 in the first half, the Ducks tallied a 10-3 advantage during the half’s opening run. Oregon turned that into an overall margin of plus-seven by the game’s end. Though the offense cooled off, going four minutes without a field goal in the middle of the half, the Ducks cruised the rest of the way to the win.
GAME STORY (by Alex Castle)
Head Coach Dana Altman
Forward Paul White and Guard Victory Bailey Jr.