The team just a couple hours up Interstate-5 didn’t disappoint, but Oregon managed to eventually pull away in a 95-84 win.
With the victory, the Ducks moved to 8-3 on the season, while the loss snapped Portland State’s four-game win streak and dropped it to an 8-3 mark also.
This game was a track meet early on as both teams kept the scoreboard operator busy. It was 17-15 Ducks in the first four minutes of action. Thankfully for the Ducks and the board operator’s fingers, the action slowed down a bit.
Oregon took a 50-39 lead at halftime and led 55-42, but Portland State got hot from the outside. Its three-point shooting was the only thing keeping the Vikings in the game.
Portland State made 13 shots from behind the arc and no one was hotter than Bryce Canda, who scored 26 of his game-leading 31 points in the second half. He also made all five of his treys after halftime. Canda’s free throw brought his team to within two, 72-70, with 6:37 left.
But then Oregon started to play better defense and went on a 10-3 run to go up 82-73 with four minutes to go.
As hot as Portland State was from three-point land earlier in the game, the Vikings went cold down the stretch. They still made 13-of-34 from three-point range.
It wasn’t enough as Oregon itself made 11 treys and shot 50 percent overall from the field (32-of-64).
Elijah Brown led the Ducks with 22 points in a game the senior needed, especially after he went scoreless just two nights earlier. The other Brown, Troy, was an assist short of his first triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Kenny Wooten was dominating inside once again with 18 points, six blocks and four rebounds on a perfect 8-of-8 shooting from the field. Payton Pritchard added 18 points, seven assists and seven rebounds.
Paul White also scored a quiet 15 points.
Oregon also made hay at the charity stripe, going 20-for-26 from the line as the Ducks continue to lead the conference in that category (80 percent as a team).
Now the Ducks will go on the road for the first time and play on an opposing campus. Oregon travels to Fresno State for a Saturday tilt. They’ll have to DVR the Las Vegas Bowl as the game will begin at 3 pm, which should occur in the middle of the second half of the big football game.
As for the Bulldogs, they are 9-2 on the season with their only losses coming at Arkansas and to Evansville.
Fresno State finished 20-13 last season with an opening round loss to TCU in the NIT. Oregon hosted the Bulldogs last season and won 75-63.
~ Don Smalley