With the scored tied at 70-70, Boise State’s Lexus Williams hit a half court shot at the buzzer to stun the Ducks 73-70 to end the nation’s longest home winning streak at 46.
The last time Oregon walked off its home floor with this feeling was Jan. 5, 2015 after an 80-62 loss to Arizona. Since then, the Ducks have been absolutely dominating in Eugene until tonight.
Payton Pritchard’s lay up tied the game up with 3.1 seconds left and gave the sophomore point guard 28 points on the night. But that was just enough time for Williams to get a shot up that hit nothing but the bottom of the net.
It wasn’t the Ducks’ best game on either side of the floor as Oregon had serious lapses that allowed the Broncos to go on a 16-2 run and take a 64-58 lead with 4:38 remaining.
Pritchard completed a three-point play and Paul White’s jumper pulled Oregon to within one with 2:59 remaining. Boise State regained its four-point lead at 67-63, but Elijah Brown hit a three up top and it was again a one-point game.
After a missed Boise State shot, Brown was fouled with 1:36 left and the senior transfer converted two free throws to give Oregon a brief 68-67 advantage.
The Broncos then tied the game on a free throw, giving the Ducks the ball with 35 seconds left. It wasn’t quite last shot territory, but close for Oregon. On a pick-and-pop play, Roman Sorkin missed a three from the left wing, which Keith Smith was able to rebound. His put back was just short and Sorkin came in for the offensive rebound. But he was called for a foul, sending Chris Sengfelder to the line.
Although he shot just 58 percent from the line, Sengfelder made both, setting the final moments of the game in motion.
Brown scored 17 points, but he and Pritchard were the only Ducks in double figures. White added nine and Mikyle MacIntosh had eight, but both frontline players fouled out, leaving Oregon with a very short bench.
Oregon was missing freshman Troy Brown due to a concussion he suffered against Oklahoma on the last day of the PK80 Invitational on Sunday. His scoring abilities and rebounding would have helped against a feisty Bronco team that improved to 7-1 on the season.
Coming into the game, Boise State was sixth in the country with 85 made three-pointers and it was obvious Oregon’s defensive game plan was to take away the three-pointer as much as possible and for a half, it worked.
For the most part it worked as the visitors were held without a made shot from long range in the first half. The Broncos were a collective 0-for-8 from the three-point line as halftime and they were down 34-30 at the break.
Both teams played a lot of zone in that first half, which meant a lot of jumpers and not many trips to the foul line.
But at times, Oregon’s defensive effort wasn’t the best as the Broncos made hay driving to the hoop for easy lay-ins. But the Ducks would rather give Boise State those twos then play into its strength and shoot those three-pointers.
At least in the first half. Oregon wasn’t as successful denying Boise State the three, however. The Broncos found their stroke from long range, hitting 7-of-11 from behind the arc after going 0-for-8 in the first half.
Chandler Hutchinson led Boise State with 20 points, but it was Justinian Jessup’s five second half threes that woke up the Bronco offense to keep them in the game and eventually win it.
Oregon (5-3) will now try to regroup in the next week as the Ducks prepare to host Colorado State Dec. 8. The Rams are currently 3-4, but will play Colorado and Arkansas this week before coming to Eugene for a 7 pm tip on the Pac-12 Network.
~ Don Smalley