EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon took its first game without Bol Bol pretty much in stride.
Just how tall an order it might be playing without the 7-foot-2 freshman star for an extended time wasn’t something coach Dana Altman wished to address.
Payton Pritchard had 19 points and five rebounds as Oregon overcame Bol’s absence to race past Boise State 66-54 on Saturday night.
“It’s a lower leg injury,” said Altman, who fended off all inquiries about Bol with the same response. “We’ll take it day by day.”
Bol, the Ducks’ leading scorer and rebounder as well as their best shot blocker and 3-point shooter, sat on the bench wearing a protective boot after injuring his left foot “earlier this week,” according to an Oregon pregame tweet. Bol will “undergo further evaluation next week.”
Paul White, who started for Bol, scored 14 points for the Ducks (7-3), winners of three in a row for the first time this season. Victor Bailey Jr. added 13 points off the bench.
“It was like a revelation that I felt I had to do more,” White said. “I just saw my opportunity and I took it. I just let the game come to me.”
“I thought Paul had a good game all-around,” Altman said. “Defensively, he was pretty solid and he had five boards.”
Pritchard played the entire second half and more than 38 minutes overall. He made 5 of 7 shots and scored 13 points after the break, including nine when the Ducks pushed their lead to 11 points after the Broncos had pulled within five.
Oregon quickly overcame a four-point deficit by starting the second half with a 19-5 run and dominating the Broncos inside. The Ducks finished with a 33-26 edge in rebounds after trailing by six at halftime and outscored Boise State 28-18 in the paint.
“That was the big turning point,” Altman said of the rebounding effort. “We talk about it at every timeout. We know how important the rebounding stat is to this team.
“We need some extra possessions on the offensive glass. We got to do a better job on the boards. We’re not getting nearly enough second opportunities.”
Alex Hobbs led the Broncos (4-6) with 21 points, about triple his season average, and Marcus Dickinson and Zach Haney had 11 each.
Oregon shot 65.0 percent in the second half (13 of 20) and 48.8 percent for the game. The Broncos hit 35.3 percent (18 of 51) against an Oregon team that ranks second in the nation in field goal percentage defense.
“We did a better job of moving the ball,” Bailey said. “The second half we made a point of keeping the ball moving and our offense did what it usually does, and we started getting buckets.”
Hobbs hit all four of his 3-pointers and had 16 points by halftime as the Broncos took a 28-24 lead despite nine turnovers. The Ducks struggled to counter without Bol, shooting just 34.8 percent while being outrebounded 18-12.
Oregon’s Abu Kigab, a sophomore forward making his third consecutive start, also limped off two minutes into the game and didn’t return.
Boise State seemed primed for another victory in Eugene with Bol out but couldn’t close the deal after a strong first half. The Broncos get another shot at the Ducks in Boise on Dec. 29.
Oregon’s future hinges on its do-everything big man with three games remaining before the start of Pac-12 play in three weeks. The Ducks responded with a gritty second half against the Broncos, but visits to Baylor and Boise State to end the month will be a challenge minus Bol.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Oregon came in averaging 76.8 points per game, but for the third time in four games the Ducks missed that mark by 10 or more points. The 24 points were their second fewest of the season in a first half.
Bailey emerged from a scramble for a loose ball for a dunk, then the sophomore guard gave Oregon its first lead midway through the first half with a four-point play after being knocked flat by Boise State’s RJ Williams on a deep 3-pointer.
Altman took the redshirt off Miles Norris by playing the 6-10 freshman briefly in the second half, but he said it wasn’t a hedge against Bol being sidelined for a significant period. “Miles decided a week ago after we ended the (academic) quarter that he wanted to play. . He can make the adjustment pretty quick and give us a few minutes with his athleticism. It won’t be a major role to start, but there is a role there for him.”
HE SAID IT
Pritchard’s scoring surge in the second half came on a variety of driving layups and fallaway jumpers. “Payton kind of dropped into his Allen Iverson bag today,” White said. “Those were tough buckets at crunch time.”
Boise State plays at Loyola Marymount on Wednesday night.
Oregon hosts Florida A&M in a Tuesday matinee to finish a four-game homestand.
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