Oregon uses big run in 2nd half, beats Fresno State 68-61
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) Dana Altman knew that the key for Oregon to get its struggling offense going was to pick up the tempo on the other end of the court.
It took a little bit but the Ducks eventually got the message and turned a close game into a route in a hurry after halftime.
Kenny Wooten scored eight of his 13 points as part of a big run in the second half and Oregon pulled away to beat Fresno State 68-61 on Saturday night, ending the Bulldogs’ seven-game winning streak.
Elijah Brown had 20 points and five rebounds, Troy Brown added 13 points and seven rebounds and Payton Pritchard scored 12 points for the Ducks (9-3), who have won four straight.
”In a 30-game schedule there’s going to be 10 games at least where you don’t shoot it well,” Altman said. ”On those 10 games you better guard and find a way to scratch out a win another way.”
The Ducks did that after a rocky start when they fell behind and struggled to find any sort of rhythm offensively.
Things turned around following Altman’s halftime message to his team. Oregon outscored Fresno State 8-0 on second-chance points in the second half and also held a 13-0 advantage on points off turnovers after the break.
Altman credited Wooten, who had 10 rebounds, six blocks and two steals in addition to helping ignite the Ducks second half run.
”Kenny was the difference in the game, both offensively and defensively,” Altman said. ”His energy got us going.”
The Ducks’ comeback was in stark contrast to how they played earlier in their first true road game of the season.
Oregon shot 29.4 percent in the first half and had no rhythm to its offense before Elijah Brown made a pair of 3-pointers coming out of the break.
The Ducks still trailed 51-42 with just over 11 minutes left to play before Wooten and the two Browns sparked a 22-1 run that put the Ducks in control.
Wooten scored six consecutive points during the burst, including an alley-oop dunk on a pass from Elijah Brown. Troy Brown followed with a 3-pointer that made it 64-52.
Elijah Brown finished 6 of 10 with four 3-pointers to help the Ducks beat the Bulldogs for the third consecutive year.
”Our biggest thing was defense,” Troy Brown said. ”We were letting them have a lot of easy shots. When teams are playing at home you can’t give them the open shots we were giving them. Defensively we started to step it up.”
Jahmel Taylor had 19 points with five 3-pointers while Deshon Taylor also scored 19 for Fresno State. The Bulldogs (9-3) lost for the first time since back-to-back defeats to Arkansas and Evansville in November.
Oregon was out of sync on both ends of the court for much of the first half. The Ducks missed 17 of their first 23 shots, struggled to get the ball inside and were repeatedly late defending Fresno State’s perimeter shooting.
The Bulldogs went 5 of 9 beyond the arc before halftime, including a pair of 3s from Jahmel Taylor, the second coming as part of an 11-2 run that put Fresno State up 38-28 at halftime.
Jahmel Taylor’s five 3-pointers were one shy of his career-high set against Oregon State last season and tied against Cal State Northridge earlier this year. It’s the third time this season that Taylor has had five or more 3s in one game.
Oregon forward Paul White left the game with a possible concussion after getting clobbered going for an offensive rebound midway through the second half. White did not return and is being evaluated through concussion protocol.
Oregon: It was a tale of two distinctly different halves for Altman’s team. The shooting problems (29.4 percent) in the first half put the Ducks in a hole they had trouble getting out of but the two Browns and Wooten got the offense going after that. Not the prettiest of wins but they found a way to overcome the ugliness and that’s a positive.
Fresno State: The Bulldogs had the Ducks on the ropes but couldn’t finish the job. Now coach Rodney Terry’s team will have to do something it hasn’t done in a while, which is try to bounce back from a loss.
Oregon: Returns to Eugene and will host Central Arkansas on Wednesday.
Fresno State: Host Cal State-Monterey on Monday.