The Civil War rivalry heads south on Thursday when Pac-12 regular-season champion and tournament top seed Oregon faces eighth-seeded Oregon State in the conference tournament at Las Vegas.
Oregon State (18-13) advanced to the quarterfinal matchup against Oregon (24-7), the 13th-ranked team in the nation, with a 71-69 defeat of Utah in a first-round game Wednesday. Jarod Lucas hit a corner 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds remaining that sealed the win.
Oregon State’s Tres Tinkle said after the game that the play was designed to go to Ethan Thompson, but that one of the Utah defenders played Thompson tight and kept the ball out of his hands.
“Six seconds left, I tried to make a play, whether it was going to be for me. I know when I drive, teams load the paint, and I saw Jarod step over, jump-stop. And told him I trust him taking that shot every single time,” Tinkle said.
Tinkle — who became Oregon State’s all-time leading scorer last week — finished with a team-high 19 points. He was one of four Beavers to score in double figures, joined by Lucas and Kylor Kelley with 12 points apiece, and Thompson with 11.
Their contributions offset the Pac-12 tournament record-setting effort of Alfonso Plummer, who hit 11 of 16 3-point attempts and 12 of 17 shots overall from the floor en route to scoring 35 points for Utah.
“(The) individual performance by the Plummer kid, unbelievable. Only time I’ve ever seen something like that was my daughter was in city league, but that doesn’t really matter,” Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said after the game, adding, “That’s a joke.”
But one thing that is not a joke for Oregon State is the similar defensive challenge it faces on Thursday against Oregon.
Wayne Tinkle said Plummer’s shooting negated the Beavers’ hopes of running a 1-3-1 zone, and they draw another 3-point threat in the Ducks’ Payton Pritchard.
Pritchard, the Pac-12 Player of the Year and a leading contender for national Player of the Year awards, shot a torrid 41.5 percent from long range in the regular season en route to a 20.5-points-per-game average.
“What he’s meant to our team, what he’s accomplished this year, he definitely is the player of the year in our league,” Oregon coach Dana Altman told The Oregonian. “He’s meant a great deal to our team, and we’ve had a little success.”
Oregon split the regular-season series with Oregon State, with the home team winning both games. The Beavers held the Ducks to just 53 points in Corvallis, and although they allowed 16 points to Pritchard, only one other Oregon player hit double figures.
That was Chris Duarte, a 12.9-points-per-game scorer this season, who is sidelined for the Pac-12 tournament due to a finger injury.
Oregon won by 15 in the rematch in Eugene, the second game of an ongoing four-game winning streak for the Ducks. Pritchard hit five 3-pointers and scored 23 points in that one, with Will Richardson and Anthony Mathis adding 15 and 13, respectively.
Mathis has stepped up his offensive production dramatically in Duarte’s absence. He has four straight games of 11, 13, 17 and 14 points, and he made at least three 3-pointers in each of those contests.
–Field Level Media