Game Story by: Justin Grossweiner
It was an emotional night at Matthew Night Arena for Oregon Duck Men’s Basketball fans as their hometown team stood alone as PAC-12 regular season champions following an 80-67 victory over Stanford. With a UCLA loss to USC earlier in the day, Oregon just needed a win to clinch the PAC-12 regular season title outright. With big performances from the three seniors Payton Prichard, Anthony Mathis, and Shakur Juiston the Ducks overcame a tough battle between its PAC-12 rival.
Although the Ducks had a hot start and led throughout the entire game, Stanford wouldn’t go down without a fight. They shot 50% from the field including 5-7 from three. Deajon Davis led the team with 11 points at the break and hit all three of his shots from downtown. Unfortunately for Stanford sloppy ball control and aggressive defense by Oregon gave the Ducks a slight advantage of five points at halftime. Oregon averages 7 steals and 3 blocks per game this season, and they actually managed to equal those numbers in the first half against Stanford with Will Richardson leading the way with 3 steals in the period.
After the halftime break the Senior Payton Prichard took over as Duck fans have seen him do many times throughout his storied career. He scored 21 points in the second half to give him 29 for the game in his last performance as a Duck at Matthew Knight Arena. Stanford star Oscar da Silva finally got it going with 12 points after a quiet first half, but it wasn’t enough as the Ducks built up a 15-point lead with about ten minutes to go. A late run with about a minute in the game gave to brought the Cardinal within 7 to give the home fans a scare, but Pritchard scored the final 6 points off of free throws to seal the game for the Ducks. His final trip to the charity stripe also allowed for the home crowd to give their star point guard one last standing ovation before the postgame senior night ceremonies held after the game.
Securing the regular season PAC-12 title also captured the number one seed in the upcoming PAC-12 tournament for the Ducks in Las Vegas where they will receive a first-round bye. Utah and Oregon State will battle it out to fight for the right to face Oregon in the semi-finals. With the victory tonight the Ducks also became the first PAC-12 team ever to win regular season titles in men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and football all in the same season. Oregon is only the second school to accomplish this feat joining Ohio State University who has accomplished the achievement 3 times.
Audio Story by: Jonah Rosenberg