Pritchard leads way as Oregon wins regular season opener over Portland State

Originally Posted on Emerald Media via UWIRE

The No. 14 Oregon men’s basketball team opened its regular season with a win over Portland State, 84-57. Payton Pritchard led the way offensively for the Ducks with 22 points and Bol Bol got his first collegiate double-double.

Four Takeaways:

Oregon and Pritchard are aggressive

Junior guard Payton Pritchard was lethal in the paint during the first half. After sitting out the exhibition against Western Oregon, Pritchard did not hold back.

He began the game attacking the basket and drawing contact. Last season, Pritchard averaged 2.94 free throws a game and made 77.4 percent of them. On Tuesday, he went 9-9 on free throws. In the second half, when Pritchard attacked less, he managed just four points, finishing the game with 22.

“I think in the first half, I was aggressive,” Pritchard said. “I turned the ball over some. Obviously that can’t happen. So I’ve got to be aggressive. When I’m aggressive, other people get easy looks, I get to the rim or the free throw line.”

In total, the Ducks shot 54 percent from the field, relying heavily on close range shots.

Rebounds aren’t guaranteed, but blocks and energetic wing play are

Despite starting three players at heights of at least 6-foot-9, the Ducks were out-rebounded in the first half 17-16. In the second half, that gap grew to 41-38.

“We got some points inside,” head coach Dana Altman said. “[I’m] disappointed with our physicality on the boards, physicality of posting up. We’re going to have to do a lot better job there. We’re a big team, so we’re going to have to get the ball inside.”

Oregon will always be tough in the paint, regardless of who is on the court. Kenny Wooten and Bol Bol both had three blocks and Ehab Amin and Paul White each added one as well.

“Well if we don’t guard the ball any better, [Wooten and Bol] will have plenty of opportunities,” Altman said. “They got by us… I’d like to see them get a few less opportunities.”

Forward Abu Kigab played tenacious defense on the wing, reminiscent of Dylan Ennis during the Final Four season.

“That’s gotta be Abu,” Pritchard said. “He’s got to come in. He’s a high energy guy. He’s got to come in and get rebounds, take his shots when they’re there and be a big defensive guy.”

Taking care of the ball is an issue

When Payton Pritchard does not have the ball, the Oregon offense seems to be in a standstill, and even with him, the ball movement is not perfect, with Oregon turning the ball over 14 times against Portland State.

Pritchard led the team with five turnovers and Bol was not far behind with four.

In the event Pritchard gets injured or into foul trouble, the Ducks would have to rely heavily on White, Will Richardson and Victor Bailey Jr. to handle the ball.

Oregon Ducks Men’s Basketball hosts Portland State at Matt Knight Arena in Eugene Ore. on Nov. 6, 2018.

Bol-mania

Whether he scores or not, Bol is fun.

Although he wasn’t dominant, Bol got 12 points and 12 rebounds.

He is a 7’2 monster in the paint, but he had trouble catching rebounds at times. Bol also got into foul trouble, reaching four with 11 minutes left in the game. In the final six minutes, he returned and earned two trips to the line, six points, five rebounds, two blocks and a steal.

“He’s gonna have to learn to play differently and not pick up fouls in the backcourt like he did,” Altman said.

Follow Maverick Pallack on Twitter @mavpallack

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