Payton Pritchard, No. 17 Oregon Surge Past No. 16 Colorado with Late Run

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 14, 2020

Oregon's Payton Pritchard, right, celebrates after making a 3-point shot against Colorado during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Eugene, Ore., Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)
Chris Pietsch/Associated Press

No. 17 Oregon regained a share of first place in the Pac-12 with a 68-60 win over No. 16 Colorado on Thursday.

Coming off two straight losses, the Ducks bounced back at home in Matthew Knight Arena as Payton Pritchard earned his second double-double of the season. Oregon (19-6, 8-4 in conference) improved to 13-0 at home while adding another impressive win to the resume.

The Buffaloes led by nine at halftime and were up five with six minutes remaining, but a 12-0 run in the closing minutes helped the Ducks take over. Will Richardson scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half as part of the come-from-behind win.

Colorado (19-6, 8-4) had been one of the hottest teams in the Pac-12 but couldn't extend its conference lead despite 14 points from D'Shawn Schwartz.

   

Notable Stats

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  • Payton Pritchard, G, Oregon: 15 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals
  • Will Richardson, G, Oregon: 21 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals
  • D'Shawn Schwartz, G, Colorado: 14 points, 3-of-5 from 3
  • Evan Battey, F, Colorado: 14 points, 11 rebounds

        

Will Richardson Takes Over for Oregon Late

Payton Pritchard is the star for Oregon, but he wasn't getting it done early with just seven points and zero assists in the first half.

Colorado pulled ahead with a 20-0 run that lasted nearly eight minutes. After extended droughts killed the team in recent losses to Oregon State and Stanford, it seemed like more of the same story in this one.

However, Pritchard began facilitating more in the second half and ended up with six assists after halftime.

Richardson took advantage, making huge plays both under the basket and from the perimeter to nearly single-handedly get Oregon back in the game:

The Ducks played faster in the second half, putting pressure on the Buffaloes with a press and ending up with 12 steals. There was also more space on the offensive end thanks to the smaller lineup:

Pritchard made his clutch shots late to help Oregon pull away, combining with Richardson for 25 in the second half after they had just 11 in the first.

It wasn't a perfect performance, but this backcourt could be scary in March.

       

Top Scorers Disappear for Colorado

There are few teams deeper than Colorado, which plays 10 men regularly and can get a big game from a variety of players.

Several contributed early, keeping the team in front with three-point shooting:

Schwartz only took eight shots but made a huge impact with 14 points and three assists.

Still, the Buffaloes need their best players to come through in big moments if they want to make a run in March.

McKinley Wright IV ended with just eight points on 3-of-8 shooting, while Tyler Bey was nearly invisible with four points and three turnovers. Since January, these two had combined for just one game of single digits, but somehow they both failed to reach 10 points in the loss.

The disappearance was obvious when Oregon began its comeback and Colorado had no one step up with an answer.

Elite teams need players to rely on when needed most, and that's what the Buffaloes lacked Thursday. 

       

What's Next?

Colorado will remain on the road for a matchup against Oregon State on Saturday. Oregon will have another home game Sunday against Utah.

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