Oregon’s young team wasn’t able to win enough to get back to the NCAA tournament, but the NIT provides a chance for the Ducks to build toward next season.
They will play at least one more game after rallying to beat Rider 99-86 at home on Tuesday night. As a No. 3 seed, Oregon (23-12) plays the winner of Wednesday’s game between No. 2 Marquette and No. 7 Harvard at a date and site to be determined.
Playing with experimental rules in place for the NIT that included a deeper three-point line and 10-minute quarters instead of 20-minute halves, Oregon trailed 44-36 at halftime and was down by as many as 12 points before catching fire. The Ducks outscored MAAC regular-season champion Rider (22-10) 60-35 over the final 18 minutes, putting up 38 fourth-quarter points on 11-of-12 shooting including 5-of-6 from three-point range.
Sophomore guard Payton Pritchard had 23 points while freshman guard Victor Bailey Jr., who came in averaging 6.1 points per game, was 7 of 8 from deep and scored a career-high 23 points.
Victor Bailey Jr was the shooting guard the Ducks didn't know they needed. Ripping it up tonight from downtown, 7 of 8 for 23 points.
— DuckSportsAuthority (@DSArivals) March 14, 2018
Senior guard Elijah Brown scored 20 and freshman forward Kenny Wooten added 12 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks, giving him 90 swats for the season.
With the one block in the first quarter, Kenny Wooten has moved into sole possession of third on the UO season blocks list with 89, passing Jordan Bell's 2017 total of 88.
— Oregon Men's Basketball (@OregonMBB) March 14, 2018
A win over Marquette or Harvard would move Oregon into the NIT quarterfinals, the same round it reached the last time it played in the tournament in 2012. That team returned several players the following year to form the nucleus of a Ducks squad that won 28 games and the Pac-12 tourney title and reached the Sweet 16.
The post Oregon takes control in second half to beat Rider in NIT opener appeared first on Diehards.
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