Portland State’s full-court style was no secret.
Oregon’s plan to break PSU’s press quickly became just as obvious.
“They were trying to get steals and we tried to get to the rim,” Oregon point guard Payton Pritchard said.
The result of those strategies was about as lopsided as the final score as No. 14 Oregon opened the season with an 84-57 win over Portland State in front of 8,212 Tuesday night at Matthew Knight Arena.
Pritchard was able to break the press early in the game and get to the basket where he usually either made a layup, got fouled or tossed an alley-oop to Kenny Wooten. Pritchard was 5-for-6 from the field and made all seven free throws in the first half while scoring 18 of his game-high 22 points.
“I’ve got to be aggressive,” Pritchard said. “I turned the ball over some and that can’t happen, but when I am aggressive, then other people get easy looks or I get to the rim or the free-throw line.”
Pritchard provided many of Oregon’s 42 points in the paint while Paul White added 15 points. Freshmen bigs Bol Bol and Francis Okoro had 12 and 10 points, respectively, as Oregon shot 54.0 percent from the floor.
“We knew we had a big size advantage so we had to take advantage,” said Pritchard, who had three assists.
Portland State tried to counter with three-pointers but made just 5-of-35 shots from behind the arc. That was 28 more three-pointers than Oregon put up with just one more successful attempt than the Ducks.
“I thought we did a good job contesting threes,” UO coach Dana Altman said. “They kept backing up and trying deeper ones. I thought our zone was good for locating the shooters.”
Bol had a double-double in his debut with 12 rebounds to go with 12 points. His three blocked shots matched Wooten for the team lead.
Portland State had five steals while forcing 14 Oregon turnovers. The Vikings had a 41-38 edge in rebounds.
“I was disappointed in our physicality on the boards and posting up, we need to do a better job there,” Altman said. “We are a big team so we need to get the ball inside, but I didn’t like the positioning when we caught it a lot of times.”
Oregon got a boost with the return of freshman guard Will Richardson, who missed the past two weeks of practice with a foot injury. He had seven points in eight minutes.
“That’s big because he can handle the ball and make a play,” Pritchard said. “Down the road we will really need that, even when we go to New York (next week).”
Portland State took its last lead at 15-13 before Pritchard converted a three-point play midway through the first half. The Vikings closed within 24-22 before Oregon pulled away with 12 straight points.
White began the run with a three-pointer and Pritchard followed with six points in a row. Abu Kigab followed with a free throw and a basket to push the Ducks ahead 36-22.
Oregon took a 45-29 lead at the half and kept the margin in double digits the rest of the way. When PSU got within 57-46 with 11:04 left, Pritchard started another run of 12 straight points that pushed the lead to 69-46.
Holland Woods had 13 points and three assists to lead the Vikings, who shot 28.8 percent from the field.