Men's BasketballSports

After a rough start, Oregon beats Ball State 95-71 behind Pritchard’s record night

Oregon went down 29-24 in the first half against Ball State. Then, Dana Altman called a timeout.

“Coach Altman knows how to get us fired up,” forward Paul White said. “He said we were just coming out not focused, very slow and we were kind of just not being in tune with the game. He took that time out to get us fired up. We needed to take that slap in the face.”

After that timeout, the Ducks outscored the Cardinals 66-47 as the offense began to click.

Payton Pritchard was electric in Oregon’s 95-71 win over Ball State on Sunday night at Matthew Knight Arena, posting a career-high 20 points and adding eight assists and four rebounds. The Ducks improved to 4-0 on the season, but the performance wasn’t what Altman wanted to see from his team.

“We put them on the free throw line for 29 free throws, which is really disappointing,” Altman said. “We’re fouling way too much. Anytime anyone drives it on us, we foul. We’re going to have to do a much better job of sliding our feet and putting ourself in position without fouling.”

The slow start was mended when Oregon went on a 16-0 run, which led to a 40-29 lead with just over two minutes left in the first half.

The Ducks led 42-33 at halftime and no player had points in the double-digits. By the end of the game, five players would be in double-digits as Oregon pulled away for the win.

“I think that’s the best way for us to play because we have a number of guys who can score,” Altman said. “I think our balance is pretty good and I like when we have a number of guys taking shots that are good shots for them.”

Brown and Victor Bailey Jr. each had solid first-half performances, finishing the first 20 minutes of action with nine points each.

The best play of the first half belonged to Elijah Brown. Payton Pritchard intercepted a cross-court pass, turned, dribbled up to the Ball State key and dropped the ball back to Brown at the 3-point arc. Brown took a contested shot, getting hit as the ball ran around the rim and fell in.

The shot only ended up counting for two points after a review, but Brown made his ensuing free throw to give Oregon the 12-11 lead.

Elijah Brown’s 17 points marked a season-high for the New Mexico transfer.

Bailey Jr.’s night was capped off by 16 points and five rebounds as Oregon out-boarded the Cardinals 45-31.

“We didn’t get a lot of second-chance opportunities,” Altman said. “They’ve been a decent rebounding team so just got a little frustrated at the end because I wanted those freshmen there to get some good minutes, but they didn’t execute it very well at all.”

The Ducks take on UConn in the PK80 in Portland, Oregon, on Thursday at 6 p.m.

“The PK 80 is a great tournament,” White said. “There’s a lot of great teams in it and we’re honored to be one of those teams to see where we are at this point in the season.”

Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow

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Shawn Medow

Shawn Medow

Shawn is an associate sports editor and reporter for the Emerald covering football, men's basketball, women's basketball, acrobatics and tumbling, track and field/cross-country and softball. He also hosts several podcasts, including a soccer podcast, on the Emerald Podcast Network. You can contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter @ShawnMedow.