November 29, 2016 / 4:10 AM / in a year

No. 23 Oregon ekes past Boise State

No. 23 Oregon ekes past Boise State

EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon dropped from No. 4 to No. 13 and now No. 23 in the Associated Press poll the past two weeks, and another loss to an unranked opponent likely would have sent the Ducks out of the national ratings.

Oregon was in danger as it trailed Boise State almost all game before avoiding the upset with a 68-63 win Monday night at Matthew Knight Arena.

“Obviously, it was a big game for us, to lose this one at home would have been tough to swallow,” Ducks junior guard Casey Benson said. “They beat us last year, so we knew how important this was.”

Guard Dylan Ennis led Oregon (5-2) with 18 points, including a 3-pointer with 3:33 left to play that gave the Ducks a 60-58 lead -- the first time they were on top since the opening minutes.

“I want to shoot ones in rhythm, and that one was in rhythm and went down,” Ennis said.

Boise State (3-3) tied the game 60-60 on two free throws by guard Chandler Hutchison before Chris Boucher made a free throw for Oregon. Guard Tyler Dorsey drove for a basket before guard Payton Pritchard scored to put the Ducks up 65-60 with 22 seconds left to play.

“We obviously didn’t play very well, but we did find a way to win, and that is important,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said.

Oregon, which lost to Baylor and Georgetown in the past two weeks, won its third consecutive game. The Ducks shot 44 percent from the field and outrebounded the Broncos 39-32.

The Broncos made 37.5 percent of their field-goal attempts.

Dorsey added 17 points for the Ducks, while forward Jordan Bell had eight points, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one steal.

Guard Paris Austin finished with 16 points and forward Nick Duncan contributed 15 for Boise State.

“We’re getting better,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said, according to the Idaho Statesman. “There’s no doubt about it. And that’s what makes me proud of these guys.”

The Broncos lost two of their first three games before winning two in a row prior to Monday.

Oregon rallied from an early 14-point deficit to close within 32-29 at halftime, and Ennis made two free throws to open the second half. Justinian Jessup and Duncan followed with back-to-back 3-pointers to push Boise State’s lead to 38-31.

Bell sank consecutive baskets to pull Oregon within 38-35 before Austin made a 3-pointer for Boise State and Zach Haney added a basket.

Benson hit back-to-back 3-pointers for Oregon to slice the deficit to 45-41, but Jessup made a 3-pointer and Haney added a free throw to push Boise State ahead 49-41 before Dorsey scored three straight points for the Ducks.

Jessup put Boise State ahead 51-44 before Ennis made three free throws to get the Ducks within 51-47. Austin followed with two free throws for the Broncos, and he stretched the lead to 58-50 with a basket.

Dillon Brooks drove for an Oregon basket, and Ennis made two free throws before Dorsey sank a 3-pointer to get the Ducks within 58-57 with 5:23 to play. Ennis followed with a 3-pointer to put the Ducks ahead for the first time in the second half.

Oregon led 6-2 at the start before Boise State scored 13 straight points, including three consecutive 3-pointers by Duncan.

The Ducks continues their homestand with games against Western Oregon on Wednesday and Savannah State on Saturday. Boise State plays host to SMU on Wednesday.

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