After suffering a 90-83 loss at UCLA on February 23, South Region No. 12 Oregon has been one of college basketball’s hottest teams. Dana Altman’s team entered the NCAA tournament on an eight-game win streak, and the Ducks extended the run to nine with a 72-54 win over No. 5 Wisconsin Friday afternoon in San Jose.
Since the loss to UCLA, a game in which Oregon (24-12) allowed a shocking 62 second-half points, seven of the Ducks’ nine opponents have failed to reach the 60-point mark. Oregon pulled away with a 16-2 second half run, as Wisconsin went cold from the perimeter and forward Kenny Wooten thwarted multiple attempts around the basket.
Wisconsin (23-11), which was outscored 47-26 in the second half, shot 6-for-30 from beyond the arc on the day.
Payton Pritchard, the Most Outstanding Player of the Pac-12 tournament, led the way with 19 points, nine assists and five rebounds, and Louis King and Paul White added 17 and 14 points, respectively. While Pritchard controlled the pace it was Wooten who provided the spark after suffering a shoulder injury in the first half, as he blocked four shots while also scoring nine points and grabbing six rebounds.
Happ, whose collegiate career came to an end with the defeat, and Khalil Iverson led the way offensively for the Badgers with 12 points apiece. Wisconsin’s loss in the Big Ten’s first in this year’s tournament, with five teams having already advanced to the second round.
The Badgers and Ducks went into the half tied at 25, but Oregon not only got going offensively but also remained stout on the other end of the floor in the second stanza. As a result the Ducks are off to the second round, where they’ll face No. 13 UC Irvine on Sunday.