Point guard Payton Pritchard had 20 points, seven assists, six rebounds and four steals to lead surprising Oregon into the NCAA Tournament with a 68-48 win over Washington in the Pac-12 tournament championship game Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Pritchard made 7 of 9 field-goal attempts and put an exclamation point on his performance with a fastbreak dunk with 1:48 to go.
Oregon (23-12) wasn’t in the NCAA tourney picture until claiming an automatic bid by winning four games in four days as the No. 6 seed at the conference tournament at T-Mobile Arena. Top-seeded Washington (26-8) is likely to make the 68-team field as an at-large selection.
Louis King scored 15 points for Oregon, and Paul White added 14. Pritchard had 22 assists and four turnovers during the tournament.
Washington sophomore guard Jaylen Nowell, the Pac-12 Player of the Year, didn’t score until there was 4:17 left in the first half. He finished with a team-high eight points, less than half his 16.5 average.
The Ducks enter the NCAA Tournament on a season-high eight-game winning streak, mostly thanks to a defense filled with length, athleticism and rim protection. They flummoxed Washington, which shot 22.2 percent (6 of 27) in the second half and didn’t attempt a free throw until there was 7:32 left in the game.
Oregon blocked four shots — all by Kenny Wooten — and swatted 21 shots in four games to set a tournament record.
The Ducks pulled away after leading 28-26 at halftime. King scored seven consecutive points to start a 14-0 run for a 44-28 advantage with 10:28 to go, and Oregon was not challenged after that.
Six of the Ducks’ past eight opponents have failed to score more than 54 points.
Washington senior guard Matisse Thybulle broke the Pac-12 record for career steals early in the second half, jumping into a passing lane and starting a one-man fastbreak that he ended with a two-handed slam. That gave the two-time conference Defensive Player of the Year 322 steals, one more than former Oregon State star Gary Payton (1986-90).
Oregon won its third Pac-12 tournament title in seven seasons. The Ducks also won in 2013 and 2016.
Oregon became the second Pac-12 team to win the conference tournament by posting four victories in four days. Colorado did it in 2012.
—Field Level Media