Pritchard with career-high 20, Oregon rolls past Ball State
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) The lone familiar face remaining from last season’s high-flying Oregon lineup gave the Ducks just what they needed Sunday night.
Payton Pritchard scored a career-high 20 points and Elijah Brown had 17 off the bench as Oregon cruised to a 95-71 victory over Ball State.
Pritchard, the starting point guard as a freshman on last year’s Final Four team, also had eight assists and no turnovers for the Ducks (4-0), who upped the nation’s longest home winning streak to 46 games.
”I thought he did a good job moving the ball,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. ”Payton played well, and defensively, he did some good things. He had a good game.”
Victor Bailey added 16 points and MiKyle McIntosh had 13 for the Ducks to finish a four-game homestand.
Tayler Persons led the Cardinals (1-3) with 14 points and Kyle Mallers had 10.
Oregon took control with a 14-0 run, after trailing by five, and outscored Ball State 35-8 over a 12-minute span over both halves. Pritchard had 12 points in the second half.
”We turned up the defense a little bit and our ball movement was better,” Altman said.
Troy Brown’s eight rebounds led the Ducks to a 45-31 edge on the boards. Oregon shot 31 of 63 overall (49.2 percent), including 10 of 25 on 3-pointers.
The Cardinals were just 7 of 27 beyond the arc (25.9 percent), their worst effort from long range of the season.
Still, Altman was less than pleased with his team’s defensive effort after the Ducks sent Ball State to the foul line 29 times, including 17 in the second half.
”You can’t sugarcoat it – 29 free throws is 29 free throws – and you can’t let good teams shoot 29 free throws,” he said. ”Our (13) turnovers led to 20 points, so you take 22 points they scored at the line, 20 points off turnovers and there’s 42 of their 71 right there.”
Oregon: The Ducks played their first of five 20-win nonconference opponents from last year in Ball State, and that doesn’t include possible games against No. 2 Michigan State or No. 9 North Carolina at the PK80 Invitational that starts Thanksgiving Day in Portland.
Ball State: The Cardinals, who are coming off their first back-to-back 20-win seasons in nearly a quarter century, play five of their first six games on the road, covering 7,500 miles in the process.
HE SAID IT
Altman said he didn’t know if his revamped team that includes four freshmen playing vital roles was ready for what awaits at the PK80 Invitational. ”Whether we’ve made enough progress to compete on that level, we’ll find out starting Thursday night,” he said. ””It would be nice to get in the winner’s bracket simply because of the teams potentially you would play, but I’m just worried about us competing and playing really athletic teams, and doing a much better job defensively than we’ve been doing.”
Pritchard’s last assist came on a fast-break lob to freshman Kenny Wooten for a dunk late in the game to the delight of those remaining in the announced crowd of 6,916.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
The 6-foot-9 Wooten had four more blocks against the Cardinals after blocking five shots and recording Oregon’s first double-double of the season against Alabama State two nights earlier.
Oregon is now 55-2 against nonconference foes in Matthew Knight Arena, which opened in 2011. . . . The Ducks are now 114-13 at home under Altman. … Led by Persons and Mallers, Ball State returned seven of its top nine scorers from last season.
Ball State: Makes the longest leg of its road trip that includes five games in 11 days to face Bucknell on Wednesday.
Oregon: Plays UConn on Thanksgiving night in the first round of the PK80 Invitational in Portland. The teams met last year at the Maui Invitational, with the Ducks prevailing 79-69.