Ducks put on a 3-point show, but it was defense that ultimately defeated DePaul, 89-79
PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon point guard Payton Pritchard had an opportunity to win the game against DePaul (1-4) in regulation. With seconds left, he made a quick dribble move, creating enough space to take an open 3-pointer. The ball rolled around the rim and fell out, and the game went to overtime tied at 75.
Then the game was tied at 79 with two minutes and 24 seconds left. Pritchard, the attempt after missing the game-winner, hit an open 3-pointer to give the Ducks the lead. The shot was a big momentum shift, as the Ducks would go on to win 89-79 in the second round of the PK80 Invitational.
It was all a part of a great night for Pritchard, who scored a career-high 29 points.
The plays were a symbol of how Oregon (5-1) lived and died by the 3-point shot all night in a game that was close from tip-off to the final buzzer. Their offense struggled at times, so it was the extra defensive effort that ultimately gave them the victory.
Two Oregon forwards, Paul White and Kenny Wooten, fouled out before overtime. Wooten was one of Oregon’s best defensive players all night, and White gets a lot of minutes at center, so Oregon had to go to a smaller lineup.
The Ducks still shut down DePaul in in the final minute and overtime. The Ducks switched to a zone defense, and DePaul only had one field goal, a layup by Max Strus with 3:59 left in overtime.
“I thought we just didn’t give up as many inside buckets,” head coach Dana Altman said.
The Ducks needed to buckle down on DePaul center Marin Maric, who scored 22 points in the game. He didn’t score in overtime.
Altman was critical of the Ducks and their 3-point shot selection in the loss on Thursday to UConn. They had 24 attempts in the game. Against DePaul, they took 20 in the first half and 39 total in the game. Oregon did not make a two-point attempt until 12 minutes and 30 seconds into the game, and at that point they already had five threes.
“Well, I thought we took better threes tonight,” Altman said. “[DePaul’s] philosophy is, ‘Don’t give up anything in the paint.’ … So I knew we’d have a lot of opportunities to penetrate and kick, so in shoot around we took a lot of threes.”
The trend continued in the second half, with Oregon attempting 16 more 3-pointers. The Ducks shot 38.5 percent from three while going 13-of-23 on two-point attempts.
However, at halftime, the coaching staff had no qualms with the abundance of 3-point shots. They wanted the Ducks to get more physical on the boards. DePaul outrebounded Oregon by six in the first half, but the Ducks answered.
“Even though I didn’t think we played well — we made a lot of mistakes — I thought that energy and us outrebounding them by 10 in the second half and overtime were the keys to the game,” Altman said.
Despite the win, the Ducks know they need to play better going forward.
“We’re not playing very good basketball right now, so during those times you’ve just got to grind out wins, and move on to the next one,” Altman said. “Hopefully play a little bit better against Oklahoma.”
Oregon plays Oklahoma on Sunday at 10 a.m. in the Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Follow Jack Butler on Twitter @Butler917
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