Men's BasketballSports

Boise State snaps Oregon’s 46-game home-win streak with halfcourt buzzer beater



Oregon needed a strong performance to bounce back from its disappointing showing at the PK80 Invitational over the past weekend. The Ducks didn’t play well in any of their three games facing stronger competition for the first time this season but took the experience to learn and mature.

The Ducks figured to take those lesson into the rest of their non-conference schedule, starting with Boise State on Friday night.

But Boise State’s Lexus Williams had other plans in mind.

His one-handed halfcourt runner found nothing but net as time expired to lift the Broncos (7-1) over the Ducks, 73-70 on Friday night at Matthew Knight Arena. The loss puts another dent into Oregon’s (5-3) young season, and it brings the Ducks’ nation-leading 46-game home-winning streak to an end.

“To lose a game like that, for this team, it felt like we needed this win,” forward Paul White said. “For us to lose in that fashion, it hurts.”

White finished with nine points in 22 minutes before fouling out with 55 seconds left in in the game.

The game appeared to be going to overtime when Payton Pritchard drove coast-to-coast and banked in a layup with 3.1 seconds remaining to tie the game at 70.  But then Williams received the final inbound on the left side of the court, took two dribbles, cut inside, took one more dribble and hoisted from the middle of the ‘O’ at center court.

Swish.

The frenetic Matthew Knight Arena crowd groaned in agony, almost drowning out the sounds of the lingering buzzer, as the Broncos buried Williams in a dog pile while the Ducks walked off the court in disbelief.

“[That ending is] Something I’m going to remember because I could’ve stayed with him,” Pritchard said. “I mean, yeah, I knew it was going in right when he shot it.”

Williams’ shot ended a back-and-forth game that saw 15 lead changes, nine in the second half alone. With 9:23 left in the game, Oregon held a seven-point lead. But Boise State charged back with a 16-2 run to jump ahead 64-58.

Oregon began to claw its way back. An Elijah Brown three with 2:07 left made it 67-66 and sparked the Matthew Knight Arena crowd back to life. The 7,688 in attendance stayed on their feet for the rest of the game.

A minute later, Brown sunk two free throws to give Oregon what would be its last lead of the game at 68-67. The game reached a break-neck pace in the closing minutes as both teams fought tooth and nail to gain an advantage. Oregon had three chances on its second-to-last possession, with the game tied at 68, to take the lead but Roman Sorkin’s three missed, as did both of Keith Smith’s rushed putbacks.

In the madness, Sorkin fouled Boise State’s Chris Sengfelder who hit both of his free throws to put the Broncos up 70-68 with seven seconds left. Pritchard answered with his coast-to-coast layup, and Williams responded with his 47-foot prayer.

“Not much you can really do, I guess, from halfcourt,” Pritchard said.

Pritchard finished with a game-high 28 points. Brown had 17 and MiKyle McIntosh added 8 before fouling out with 6:40 left in the game.

For a team not playing its best early in the season, this loss hurt a little extra for the Ducks. They’ll have a week to regroup before they host Colorado State on Dec. 8 at Matthew Knight Arena.

“We gotta be men about this situation,” White said. “We gotta take this punch in the chin and move on.”

Follow Gus Morris on Twitter @JustGusMorris


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Gus Morris

Gus Morris

Gus Morris covers Oregon football, basketball and women's golf for the Emerald. Caffeine addict. Bay Area sports. I know words, I have the best words.