Payton Pritchard scored six straight points to put No. 8 Oregon ahead in the final four minutes, then drained the game-clinching 3-pointer to lead the Ducks past Texas Southern 84-78 Saturday night in Eugene, Ore.
Pritchard finished with 29 points, six assists and five rebounds for Oregon (10-2), which nearly suffered its second straight stunning upset loss to the Tigers (3-8) in 13 months. Texas Southern, which became just the fourth non-conference team to win at Matthew Knight Arena last year, led 69-68 with 4:23 left after Chris Baldwin sank two free throws.
But a Pritchard-led 11-3 run saved the Ducks from one of the season’s biggest shockers. Pritchard, who took only eight shots from the field, scored 16 of his team’s last 18 points and made 15 of 17 attempts from the foul line.
Oregon also got 18 points from reserve Will Richardson and 13 from Chris Duarte. The Ducks canned 52 percent from the field, including 10 of 25 3-pointers, and were 22 of 27 at the foul line.
Baldwin paced the Tigers with 27 points on 9-of-12 shooting, going 5 of 6 on 3-pointers. Tyrik Armstrong added 21 points and six assists, and John Jones scored 15 points.
Texas Southern trailed just 76-72 when Baldwin drilled a 3-ball with 90 seconds remaining, but Pritchard answered by beating the shot clock with a 3-pointer for a seven-point advantage with 58 seconds left.
Many predicted Oregon would set a quick tone in this one after what happened last year. Instead, Texas Southern was the team putting its stamp on the game by roaring out to a 26-13 lead with 7:41 left in the first half after a layup by Jones.
What the Tigers spent the first 12 minutes building, the Ducks needed less than 3 1/2 to wipe out. Beginning with Anthony Mathis’ 3-pointer, they went on a 20-2 run, opening up a 33-28 advantage on Richardson’s 3-ball with 2:06 remaining.
Richardson added another three later in the half, but Texas Southern took a bit of momentum to the locker room when Armstrong converted a short jumper in the lane with seven seconds on the clock. That made it 36-33 Oregon at halftime.
—Field Level Media