Oregon holds off winless Texas Southern 74-68
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) It was the kind of ugly win Payton Pritchard would just as soon forget, except for the performance by the freshman seated next to him.
Pritchard scored 16 points, and Troy Brown had 10 points and 12 rebounds as Oregon struggled to down winless Texas Southern 74-68 on Monday night.
The difference-maker was Kenny Wooten with 13 points and four blocks for the Ducks (7-3), who started the second half on a 16-2 run to open a 48-33 lead but still couldn’t shake the Tigers (0-9).
”He’s really the reason why we won this game,” Pritchard said. ”As the season goes on, Kenny is going to have to step up big like he did tonight.
”His talent is there, and he’s just got to be ready to play every night like that. He’s gotta be a dog. That’s what we need and that’s what we expect out of him.”
Wooten had a dunk and two inside baskets midway through the second half as the Ducks saw their lead dwindle to single digits.
”Kenny saved us,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. ”I thought he was the difference in the game.”
Texas Southern trailed 65-64 with 3 1/2 minutes to play before driving layups by Pritchard and Paul White gave Oregon some breathing room. White had 11 points as six Ducks scored in double figures.
Brown scored seven of Oregon’s last 12 points, capped by a 3-pointer of an assist from Pritchard.
”We fought it out,” Pritchard said. ”We had a 15-point lead, so we have to be better than that, we can’t give that up”
Donte Clark led the Tigers with 17 points and Demontrae Jefferson had 16.
After a lethargic first half, Oregon relied more on its inside game led by Wooten, MiKyle McIntosh and Brown. The Ducks were 13 of 17 at the foul line in the second half after shooting just five free throws in the first 20 minutes.
”The second half with us yelling (from the bench) to drive it at them, they did a little better job,” Altman said. ”The big difference there is you shoot more free throws, because you’re going to the basket hard.”
The Ducks shot 13 of 25 in the second half to finish 25 of 59 for the game (42.4 percent). Wooten was 6 of 7 from the floor and Pritchard 5 of 8.
”I’d like to give all the credit to my teammates,” Wooten said. ”They fed me. I was just trying to get open and they found me.”
Oregon defeated the third winless team among its first 10 opponents, but the competition gets tougher with two games against teams with power ratings in the top 60 in Portland State and Fresno State. The latter will be the Ducks’ only game outside of Oregon before January.
Texas Southern will to give coach Mike Davis his 100th victory with the Tigers when they continue their 13-game opening road slate at Baylor, Wyoming, TCU and Brigham Young before starting Southwestern Athletic Conference play.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
It was Brown’s second consecutive double-double after he missed the loss to Boise State because of a concussion. The 12 rebounds were a season-high for the freshman, who leads the Ducks with eight rebounds per game. ”He’s our best rebounder by far,” Altman said, ”because he really sticks his nose in there.”
Texas Southern plays at Baylor on Thursday night.
Oregon hosts Portland State on Wednesday night.