Pritchard’s Career Best 20 Points Carries Ducks Past Ball State

Payton Pritchard scored a career high 20 points to lead the Oregon Ducks past the Ball State Cardinals 95-71 Sunday evening at Matthew Knight Arena.

The sophomore point guard connected on seven of his eleven shots from the floor and sank four of five from the line while dishing out eight assists without a turnover.

“He played well,” said Oregon head coach Dana Altman then went on to offer a laundry list of things the Ducks didn’t do well, beginning with sending the opposition to the free throw line too often.

“We put them on the free throw line for 29 free throws, which is really disappointing,” he said. “We’re fouling way too much. Anytime anyone drives on us, we foul. We’re going to have to do a much better job of sliding our feet and putting ourselves in better position without fouling.”

“You can’t let good teams shoot 29 free throws and that led to 22 points,” Altman continued. “They had 20 points off turnovers, so that is 42 of their 71 right there. Defensively, we made mistakes that allowed open three-pointers. If you do those things, you are not going to be successful against really good teams and especially not on the road”

Offensively the Ducks were a bit slow to get untracked but after the Cardinal used an 11-0 streak to build a 29-24 lead “we turned up the defense a bit,” said Altman. “The ball movement was better and I liked the pace we started with in the second half.”

After taking a nine point lead into the break Oregon outscored Ball State 53-38 in the second stanza to improve their season record to 4-0. Ball State slipped to 1-3.

The Ducks held Ball State to 37.5% from the floor on 21 of 56, and outrebounded the Cardinals 45-31. Counting Pritchard, five Ducks posted double figures in scoring with transfer Elijah Brown netting 17 and Victor Bailey Jr. adding 16.

Oregon will venture outside the friendly confines of Matthew Knight Arena for the first time to participate in the PK 80 tournament in Portland over the Thanksgiving Day weekend. Oregon will open against Connecticut on Thursday at 6:00 pm at the Moda Center and then will play either DePaul or Michigan State in Friday’s second round. After taking Saturday off for the Civil War football game, the final round will be held on Sunday.

The Ducks return to host Boise State on Friday, December 1 with the tip-off time yet to be determined.

~ Rick Morgan