Oregon men’s basketball athleticism too much for Washington State as Ducks win 84-57
Kenny Wooten should have been given an assist to Troy Brown Jr.
After blocking the ball directly into Troy Brown Jr.’s hands, Wooten watched as Troy Brown Jr. sprinted down the court for an and-1 dunk that brought the crowd at Matthew Knight Arena to its feet.
Washington State’s three-point shots kept them in the game, but Oregon’s physicality in the paint and execution on the fast break put the game out of reach for the Cougars. Both Payton Pritchard (19 points, 10 assists) and Troy Brown Jr. (16 points, 10 rebounds) notched double-double in the game.
Both teams came out eager to shoot from the three-point line. The first 15 of 20 shots taken were threes, and soon all starters had at least one three to their name. However, Oregon went on to dominate points the paint, 30-12, for the entire game. The Ducks also ran the floor much better than the Cougars and outscored them on fast-break points, 21-3, on their way to the 84-57 win.
Midway through the first half, Payton Pritchard executed some quality defense. First he stole the ball and dunked it on a wide open fast break, then assisted on a Keith Smith dunk on the following play.
“Guys are hitting shots, making my job a lot easier,” Pritchard said. “These last two games I’ve been more aggressive getting to the lane. We’ve defiantly been gelling more and getting to the right spots.”
The presence in the paint was largely conducted by Kenny Wooten, Troy Brown Jr, and Mikyle McIntosh. Wooten threw down some thunderous alley-oop dunks in the second half; one from Elijah Brown and two from Pritchard.
Washington State sank back-to-back threes to start the second half, and trimmed its deficit 41-35. Sophomore guard Malachi Flynn scored (16 points) had a step-back three pointer during the run.
Oregon’s bench outscored Washington State’s bench 25-8 during the game. Victory Bailey Jr. was the leading scorer off the bench. He scored 13 points in 16 minutes, all in the second half. His final field goal was a three-point field goal that gave Pritchard his tenth assist.
“I though he played with a lot of confidence that second half. I thought he only took one questionable one, but the rest of them were pretty good looks,” Oregon head coach Dana Altman said. “He had a tough first half. I though he was not focused defensively, but the second half I thought he did a very good job.”
McIntosh was also impressed with the bench’s performance in the game. Wooten and Bailey Jr. combined for 23 of the bench’s points.
“They brought a lot of energy, they brought a lot of defensive aggression,” said McIntosh. “They did a great job guarding the press.”
Oregon was able to keep sharpshooter Carter Skaggs in check. The sophomore guard had nine points at halftime and was 3-7 on three point field goals, and he did not score in the second half. Skaggs in the Pac-12 leader in three-point percentage at 45 percent, good for No. 18 in the NCAA for the same category.
Oregon will head to Los Angeles to face USC and UCLA this upcoming weekend. The team needs to win most if not all of their remaining games to earn an entry into the NCAA Tournament.
Follow August Howell on Twitter @howell_august
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