Home Oregon Ducks Richardson, Oregon outlast Arizona in Eugene, 74-73

Richardson, Oregon outlast Arizona in Eugene, 74-73

First Half

Despite beginning the game down 7-0 and 20-11, the Ducks fought back with a 16-7 run to end the half, cutting the deficit to 2 at 34-32. Arizona shot 48% (14/31) in the first half, but the Ducks’ 39% (11/28) was helped by 5 three-pointers.

Payton Pritchard struggled in the first, going 2/8 with just 6 points, but Will Richardson’s 10 and Chris Duarte’s 8 carried the Ducks. 

Arizona’s projected lottery pick, Nico Mannion, had 10 points, while the Wildcats’ Zeke Nnaji added 5 points and 10 boards. 

Of course, not to be outdone, Bill Walton ate peanut butter.

Second Half

The second half began with a hilarious encounter between Mario Cristobal, his son (also Mario, although Walton thought it was Marshall), Dave Pasch, and Walton wearing an Oregon football helmet.

But the real battle was between Mannion and Pritchard. Offensive rebounds, dizzying dribbling displays, space creation, and—of course—creative scoring, were all on display from both players.

Arizona started spacing the floor better and hitting open shots on offense, but Oregon was ready to respond.

Duarte hit Oregon’s second straight 3 at the 5:26 mark to take a 60-57 lead, but the Wildcats punched back. Out of Sean Miller’s subsequent timeout, Dante picked up his fourth foul. This time he stayed in the game, though.

With a minute to go, Arizona held a 2-point lead. They retained possession and elected to play clock, ignoring the pleas of Walton to score. Mannion threw the ball away. Pritchard hit a fadeaway on Mannion to tie it, then came up huge on the defensive end by blocking Nnaji’s elbow jumper as time expired. Sean Miller’s pleas (which were more like demands) fell on deaf ears, and the game went to overtime.

Overtime

Will Richardson got the scoring started for the Ducks in overtime with 5 quick points to earn his 19th total. His and-1 gave Oregon a 3-point lead before Mannion buried his first 3 of the night on the other end.

Chris Duarte came up with a big offensive rebound to set up a Mannion foul on Pritchard, causing Miller to reach a new shade of red on the sideline. Replays confirmed the obvious foul, though.

Pritchard went 1/2 to set up a 1-point lead. Arizona coughed up the ball on the next possession, but so did Oregon off the inbound pass. Arizona quickly converted the turnover but Richardson responded just as quickly on the other end.

If possible, the game descended deeper into chaos. Arizona’s Nnaji was trapped in the corner and his pass was intercepted by Pritchard, who landed out of bounds while he was still touching the ball.

Arizona looked to score with 10 seconds left and no timeouts remaining, but Mannion’s ill-advised runner was deflected out of bounds by the Ducks. Wildcat ball, 2 seconds left. The final inbound pass was dropped and a thrilling game ended with a 74-73 scoreline in favor of the Ducks.

Final Lines and Thoughts

Oregon

  • P. Pritchard – 18pts, 7reb, 6ast, 3stl, 4TO on 6/21 FG, 3/11 3pt
  • W. Richardson – 21pts, 5reb, 4ast on 7/16 FG, 5/5 FT, 2/4 3pt
  • C. Duarte – 17pts, 8reb, 2ast on 5/10 FG, 6/6FT, 1/3 3pt
  • N. Dante – 10pts, 5reb, 2blk on 5/6 FG

Arizona

  • N. Mannion – 20pts, 3reb, 3ast, 6TO on 9/17 FG, 1/3 3pt
  • Z. Nnaji – 11pts, 14reb, 2 blk on 3/8 FG, 5/8 FT
  • J. Green – 17pts, 5reb on 7/11 FG, 2/4 3pt
  • D. Smith – 11pts, 3reb, 3TO on 4/9 FG, 3/4 3pt

This was a monumental win for Oregon in the following ways:

  • Protecting home court
  • Proving they can win when Pritchard is off by having other guys step up
  • Staying afloat in a very good Pac-12 conference

If the Ducks keep up this kind of effort for a full game, we can fully expect them to be making deep runs in the Pac-12 Tournament and Big Dance at the end of the season. Mind you, they started very slowly in this game, and Arizona had the chance to blow the doors off in the first half.

Beating Arizona is also fun because of what it represents; Oregon is now 9-6 against Arizona in head-to-head matchups since Arizona’s 6-game win streak from 2008-2011. The torch is slowly being passed from Sean Miller to Dana Altman in the Conference of Champions, and this win continued that trend.

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