Payton Pritchard reintroduced himself to Oregon fans Friday in his first NCAA tournament game.
Pritchard, a freshman point guard from West Linn, had virtually disappeared in recent weeks, but broke out in a big way against Iona, finishing with 16 points, four assists, three rebounds and three steals.
The Ducks won 93-77 to advance to the NCAA tournament’s round of 32 for the fifth straight season.
Pritchard had scored just 15 points total in Oregon’s previous four games, and eight of those points came against Arizona State in the Pac-12 opener.
Without Chris Boucher, Oregon needs everybody to step up in order for the program to take that next step this season and reach the Final Four, and that includes Pritchard.
The Ducks also had big games from Tyler Dorsey (24 points, five rebounds), Dillon Brooks (18 points, four rebounds, four assists) and Jordan Bell (17 points, 10 rebounds).
But it was nice to see Pritchard, an Oregonian, do well in his tournament debut.
Pritchard was a four-time state champion at West Linn, as well as a three-time state player of the year.
Expectations are high for Pritchard, who was a four-star recruit. He ranked No. 13 in the nation among point guards coming out of high school, and was ranked No. 54 overall in the 2016 recruiting class, according to ESPN.
It’s a good start, but it’s only Iona.
He'll need to do it against Rhode Island on Sunday if the Ducks are going to return to the Sweet 16.
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