Dana Altman isn’t done switching his starting lineup.
The Oregon coach used his seventh different set of starters in Sunday’s 78-58 win over Washington State when freshman guard Will Richardson replaced Victor Bailey in the starting lineup for the Ducks. Richardson took over some of the point guard duties, allowing Payton Pritchard to spend more time off the ball.
That pair is likely to remain in the starting lineup after combining for 14 assists and no turnovers in 63 minutes against WSU.
“They both can handle it, which we want,” Altman said. “Lou (King) can handle it and Ehab (Amin) has handled it more. We’ve got some ball handlers and to have a couple out there making shots. If we can get them 14 assists, we really like that activity.”
Richardson and Pritchard combined to score seven points on 3-for-14 shooting from the field. Pritchard was 1-for-7 on 3-pointers.
“He had some really good looks at some 3s, some I thought for sure he’d hit,” Altman said.
The 6-foot-5 Richardson, who made five starts in December before coming off the bench in seven straight games, has 12 assists and seven steals in his last three games.
“We were changing things up,” Altman said. “Fourteen assists and no turnovers, I was really pleased with that. I wanted to give (Richardson) an opportunity to handle the ball. VJ had been struggling a bit offensively so I wanted to take a bit of the pressure off him. We tried to give some different looks.”
Bailey had started seven straight games, but missed all 14 shots he attempted in back-to-back losses against Arizona State and Washington. The sophomore was 2-for-3 from the field while scoring six points in 14 minutes against WSU.
“We are probably going to change the lineup two or three more times throughout the year,” Altman said. “Nobody is etched in stone. We will change it around a little bit.”
The next change could be Kenny Wooten returning to the starting lineup in place of freshman Francis Okoro.
The 6-foot-9 Wooten has come off the bench in all four games since returning from a broken jaw two weeks ago. He matched a career high with 20 points in 26 minutes against the Cougars.
The 6-foot-9 Okoro has started eight straight games. After combining for 12 points and nine rebounds in the losses to ASU and Washington, he had one point and no rebounds in 12 minutes against the Cougars.
Oregon (12-8) sits eighth in the Pac-12 at 3-4 as it prepares to visit Utah (11-8, 5-2) at 6 p.m. Thursday. The Utes have been the surprise of the conference in moving into a tie for second place.
“We are confident we can beat anybody in the conference, but as you can see, we can lose to anybody as well,” Amin said. “We can’t afford to go in thinking we are going to win, especially on the road. The mentality is that we need those two road wins really bad.”
Oregon has split all three of its two-game Pac-12 weekends this season as its prepares to visit Utah followed by Colorado on Saturday night. The Ducks have played five of seven conference games at home, leaving them seven of the remaining 11 away from Matthew Knight Arena.
“Now we have to go do well on the road,” Altman said. “We need to play has hard as we did at Arizona and Arizona State if we are going to have a chance at Utah and Colorado.”