Oregon mainstay Payton Pritchard tipped off his senior season in style Tuesday, recording 24 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in a 71-57 win over Fresno State. Pritchard and the 14th-ranked Ducks continue their season-opening homestand Saturday night by hosting Boise State.
Pritchard has started on two Oregon squads that advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and beyond, and Tuesday marked his 110th straight start spanning four seasons. Meanwhile, the Ducks are essentially starting over again with nine newcomers and a trio of new starters this season, but the 6-2 point guard remains the constant for coach Dana Altman's crew. "(Payton) is one of the best point guards in the country, obviously," senior transfer Anthony Mathis said Tuesday of Pritchard, his former high-school teammate. "We have no worries with Payton." Boise State also had few concerns in its opener Tuesday, blasting visiting NAIA school Life Pacific 126-49, but now the Broncos take a huge step up in visiting the only ranked team currently on their non-conference schedule.
TV: 11 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network
ABOUT BOISE STATE (1-0): Derrick Alston, a 6-9 guard and preseason All-Mountain West Conference selection, led the Broncos' opening-night onslaught Tuesday, scoring a game-high 25 points and contributing five rebounds and four assists. Fellow guard and returning starter Justinian Jessup added 19 points while forward RJ Williams posted a double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds. With Alston and Jessup each hitting 4-of-7 attempts, Boise State connected on 17-of-31 3-point tries in setting program single-game records for points scored and margin of victory.
ABOUT OREGON (1-0): Altman and the Ducks had to like what they saw from newcomer Chris Duarte, a junior college transfer guard, who debuted with 16 points and seven rebounds. Meanwhile, up front, Oregon is counting on a larger contribution from 6-9 power forward Francis Okoro, and he's off to a strong start after positing his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Oregon owned the glass against the Bulldogs with a 45-31 rebound advantage and had a 20-10 made free throw edge, but the Ducks will certainly be looking for better success from 3-point range after hitting only 1-of-13 attempts from the new longer distance.
1. Oregon has won eight of 10 meetings against Boise State, its neighboring-state rival, including 62-50 and 66-54 wins a season ago in a rare home-and-home non-conference series.
2. With Tuesday night's win, Altman (236-96 in his 10th season) became the winningest head coach in Oregon history, breaking a tie with Ernie Kent.
3. Boise State, picked fifth in the Mountain West preseason poll, has former highly-touted Oregon recruit Abu Kigab on its current roster, but the 6-6 forward won't be eligible until the semester break.