Ducks Run Out of Gas Against No. 12 Michigan State
PORTLAND — Senior Will Richardson net a season-high 28 points, but the Ducks ran out of bodies down the stretch, falling 74-70 to Michigan State on Friday night.
Oregon started out strong and was in control for much of the first half. Kel'el Ware got his first career start and hit consecutive three pointers to give Oregon its first lead of the game, a 10-7 advantage. The Ducks continued to play hard on defense, creating a 20-12 advantage for Oregon, their largest lead of the half.
After N'Faly Dante went down with an injury, Oregon struggled to keep pace with Michigan State. The Spartans got back into the contest with a 14-0 run, taking back the lead as the half came to a close. Rivaldo Soares knocked down a three as time expired to get the Ducks within striking distance, trailing 33-30 at the break.
Richardson opened the second half with back-to-back threes to give Oregon a 36-33 lead. With Dante out for the remainder of the game, Oregon had to go to walk-on players early in the game. Gabe Reichle, Brady Parris, Lok Wur and James Cooper all played valuable minutes for Oregon and kept the Ducks in it. On top of that, center Nate Bittle went out with a foot injury and Quincy Guerrier fouled out, leaving Oregon very short-handed.
Despite the adversity, Oregon stayed in the game behind a huge night from Richardson. He hit big shot after big shot down the stretch and Oregon was still in it. The Ducks trailed 68-64 with a minute to go. After a strong trap in the corner, Michigan State turned it over to Rivaldo Soares, who converted the layup with a foul. After hitting the free throw, the Ducks trailed by one. The Spartans then went up five before another and-one opportunity for Richardson. This turned out to be the last chance for Oregon, who ran out of time after made free throws from MSU.
Who Stood Out: Richardson net his first 20-point game of the season, notching 28 points (10-21 FG) and eight assists in 40 minutes of play. Ware turned in a strong performance, 17 points and nine rebounds in his first start.
Up Next: Oregon closes out the Phil Knight Invitational on Sunday against Villanova in the Chiles Center. The contest will air on ESPN2.