Pritchard helps No. 14 Oregon beat Portland State 84-57
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s first game drew mixed reviews from coach Dana Altman.
The performances by returning starters Payton Pritchard and Paul White were right on cue, but the rest of the Ducks showed some rough spots that need work, especially under the boards.
Pritchard scored 22 points while White added 15 and No. 14 Oregon opened its season by routing Portland State 84-57 victory Tuesday night.
“We took a step in the right direction,” Altman said. “It just wasn’t smooth the way we like.
“We’re going to have to get a lot more physical in everything we do. Our bigs weren’t creating space, and we’re going to face a lot more physical teams than this one was.”
Pritchard, the only player remaining from the Ducks’ 2017 Final Four team, had 18 points by halftime as Oregon led 45-29. He missed only one of his seven shots from the field and was 9-for-9 from the free throw line.
The Ducks (1-0) broke open a back-and-forth contest with a 12-0 run late in the opening half and didn’t allow the Vikings (0-1) to get closer than 11 points after that.
Oregon’s five-star freshman center, 7-foot-2 Bol Bol, struggled with foul trouble early in his debut but finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds in 23 minutes.
“He’s going to have to get used to guys coming after him,” Altman said. “Guys are getting into his legs and moving him out of there, and he’s going to have to learn to be more physical.”
Freshman Francis Okoro had 10 points off the bench for the Ducks.
Holland Woods led the Vikings with 13 points and Jaime Orme added 11.
The Ducks shot 61.5 percent in the first half (16 of 26) and 54.0 percent overall (27 of 50), including 4 of 7 from 3-point range. Oregon averaged more than 25 attempts from beyond the arc last season.
Portland State was just 5 of 35 on 3-pointers and shot 28.8 percent overall (21 of 73). The Vikings won the rebounding battle 41-38, and they forced the Ducks into 14 turnovers, including five by Pritchard, whose relentless penetration helped to create 42 points in the paint.
“We’ve got a lot to do in a lot of areas,” Altman said.
Oregon will continue to blend its five primary returners with six newcomers, including the five freshmen who comprise the nation’s No. 3 recruiting class. Another five-star signee, 6-9 Louis King, isn’t expected to be available until December as he recovers from a knee injury.
Portland State will go as far as Woods, the 2018 Big Sky freshman of the year, can take the Vikings under second-year coach Barret Peery.
Bol soared for what looked to be a monster two-handed dunk that instead was turned back by Portland State’s 6-8 Sal Nuhu at the rim midway through the first half, though Bol finished the possession with a dunk from the other side. Bol returned the favor by blocking Nuhu’s dunk attempt two minutes later.
Altman needs 26 wins in his ninth season at Oregon to surpass Ernie Kent’s 235 as the school’s career leader in victories. The Ducks have averaged 27.5 wins over the past six seasons. . Oregon won its 21st consecutive home opener. The last team to beat the Ducks was Portland State in 1997, spoiling Kent’s coaching debut at Oregon in McArthur Court. . Oregon started one player in each class, from freshman center Bol to graduate-transfer guard Ehab Amin from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Oregon hosts another Big Sky team, Eastern Washington, on Friday night before heading to New York City to face Iowa and either UConn or Syracuse next weekend at the 2K Empire Classic.
Portland State christens its new on-campus arena, the 3,094 Viking Pavilion, against UC Riverside on Saturday night.
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