It wasn’t pretty.
But in the end, No. 21 Oregon did what it needed to do after returning from a long flight from New York. Behind Bol Bol’s 21 points and nine rebounds, the Ducks (4-1) defeated visiting Green Bay 83-72 in their final game of the 2K Empire Classis. With the win, Oregon went 3-1 in the tournament with victories over Eastern Washington, Syracuse and Green Bay (3-3).
"Our intensity, our conditioning definitely has to improve," Oregon head coach Dana Altman said. “I hope we can learn from a win… a lot of times teams can only learn from losses.”
After a rough showing in New York, Payton Pritchard looked much more comfortable once returning home. He finished the game 18 points, six rebounds and five assists, showing his combination of outside shooting (3-of-6) and ability to get to the rim (5-for-6).
“I thought he was trying to make plays for people, he was trying to push it,” Altman said of Pritchard.
Altman, who wanted to see Pritchard more involved shooting the ball, got his wish in the second half when Pritchard went 4-of-7 from the field, including 3-of-5 from three-point territory.
Oregon had a tough time in the second half dealing with Green Bay’s athleticism as the Phoenix were able to stay in the game and make it close late.
"I think they were just getting to the basket too easy and we weren't able to adjust that fast," Kenny Wooten, who finished with eight points and four blocks, said. "It was just bad on our part."
The Ducks looked poised to run away with the game in the middle of the second half, when a Pritchard layup made it 58-43 with 11:40 left.
But the Phoenix began to chip away, extending their defensive pressure and consistently hitting tough mid-range jumpers and shots from beyond the arc. Green Bay closed to within four, 74-70, with 2:02 to go when Sandy Cohen III made a three-pointer over the outstretched arm of Kenny Wooten.
The Ducks responded when Pritchard and Will Richardson combined for a 7-0 run over the next 1:40 to close the game out.
Oregon started the game well, jumping out to an 11-6 lead at the first media timeout as Bol was unstoppable early. He continued his solid play the rest of the half, finishing with 15 points and six rebounds at the break. But, in the second is where he got into trouble, lacking the physicality Altman likes from his post players down low.
"Bol is a terrific scorer, he was 8-for-12. I just didn't think he posted up very hard," Altman said. "I think they pushed him around… I'm going to have to take a look at the film and see. We played him too many minutes, I don't think he's ready for 33 minutes right now."
The Ducks now get a much-needed break after flying across the country and back and playing three games in five days. Towards the end of the game, they appeared to lack focus and become more tired than usual, either from the jetlag or whatever, reasons Altman wouldn’t admit too.
Paul White and Richardson each finished with 10 points while Abu Kigab came off the bench to give the Ducks a spark, ending up with nine points (4-of-7 shooting) and four rebounds.
"We've got a lot to work on... we all know that," Kigab said. "We've just gotta get back in the gym and get better."
Oregon has the next few days for Thanksgiving before returning to host Texas Southern on Monday, November 26. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.