EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Payton Pritchard had a simple explanation for Oregon’s outside shooting spree.
“The 3-ball was going our way early and so if they are there, take them,” the senior guard said.
Pritchard scored 25 points and sparked an early 3-point barrage as the No. 17 Ducks rolled to an 80-62 victory over Utah on Sunday night.
Pritchard made five of six 3s in the first half. Will Richardson, who hit a trio before the break and finished 4 for 4 from long range, added 18 points, six assists and six rebounds to help Oregon improve to 14-0 at home this season.
Shakur Juiston added 11 points and freshman Addison Patterson finished with 10 off the bench as the Ducks shot 58% from the field and made half of their 24 3-point attempts.
“We got great looks, penetration kicks, and inside-out 3s gave us good looks,” coach Dana Altman said. “There were a lot of good things there. Our transition was pretty good. We did a lot of good things.”
Following a win Thursday over Colorado, the weekend sweep by the Ducks (20-6) kept them in a first-place tie with the Buffaloes in the Pac-12 at 9-4.
“I think these two games were must-wins for us obviously to keep in the hunt for a conference championship,” Pritchard said. “We needed to get this one.”
The Ducks are at Arizona State and Arizona next, with both of those teams only a half-game back of the co-leaders at 8-4.
In falling to 0-7 in Pac-12 road games, the Utes (14-11, 5-8) were led by freshman Rylan Jones with 18 points. Branden Carlson and Timmy Allen each had 10.
Oregon opened its first double-digit lead at 24-13 when Richardson made his third 3-pointer 10 minutes into the game. Pritchard’s fourth put the margin at 29-18, with 23 of Oregon’s points coming from the two guards. That also made the Ducks 7 of 10 from beyond the arc.
When three consecutive Oregon possessions ended with 3s, two by Anthony Mathis and the last by Pritchard, Utah called a timeout as the score ballooned to 40-24 with 4:28 left in the half.
Oregon’s lead was 44-30 at halftime, with the Ducks shooting 55% from the field, including 67% (10 of 15) on 3-pointers.
“It was a seven-point game there with about eight minutes left in the first. We were playing hard enough and then, boom, three straight 3s and it went from seven to 16 just like that,” Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said.
Krystkowiak was particularly irked that four of those first-half 3s by the Ducks were second-chance points, coming off offensive rebounds.
“We had different breakdowns,” he said. “Just the (lack of) discipline against an elite team.”
Pritchard had 17 points in the first half on 6-of-8 shooting from the field, with Richardson adding 13 points.
Utah fought back to get within eight with 12 minutes left, but Oregon answered with an 8-1 run, including a drive by Richardson and his two assists for inside baskets as the Ducks built a 63-48 cushion with eight minutes remaining.
Richardson scored 21 points Thursday against Colorado and has been in double figures in five of Oregon’s past six games.
“He’s an elite player,” Krystkowiak said. “He’s finding his groove right now. That’s one of the facets of their team that makes it difficult.”
Utah: Dropped to 1-8 on the road this season. Since joining the Pac-12, the Utes are 1-6 in Eugene and 2-17 overall vs. Oregon.
Oregon: The victory gave the Ducks their 10th consecutive season with 20 or more wins. The only other schools currently with at least 10 straight 20-win seasons are Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Louisville, Saint Mary’s and Vermont. ... The Ducks have three home games remaining.
NOT IN UNIFORM
Oregon’s 6-foot-11 freshman N’Faly Dante missed his seventh consecutive game due to a knee injury.
Pritchard moved up to fifth on Oregon’s career scoring list with 1,810 points. Greg Ballard is fourth at 1,829.
Utah: Plays at home against UCLA on Thursday.
Oregon: Plays at Arizona State on Thursday.
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