SAN JOSE — Payton Pritchard, the driving force behind Oregon’s eight-game win streak entering the NCAA tournament, didn’t back down on the big stage Friday.
Pritchard had 19 points, eight assists and five rebounds as the 12th-seeded Ducks beat No. 5 Wisconsin 72-54 victory in a South Region game at SAP Center.
The Ducks (24-12) avenged NCAA losses to the Badgers (23-11) in 2014 and 2015 in their return to the tournament after missing out a year ago for the first time in six seasons.
Pritchard, who started at point guard as a freshman for Oregon’s 2017 Final Four team, averaged 15.8 points during the eight-game run as the Ducks battled back from 10th place in the Pac-12 to win the conference tournament.
Oregon will play in Sunday’s second-round game against 13th-seeded UC Irvine (31-5), which won its first-ever NCAA tournament game, upsetting No. 4 Kansas State 70-64.
Freshman Louis King scored 17 points for Oregon and Paul White had 14. Kenny Wooten had nine points and four blocked shots to fuel a crowd that included the Warriors’ Jordan Bell and the 49ers’ DeForest Buckner, both Oregon alums.
Ethan Happ and Khalil Iverson scored 12 points each for the Badgers, who made just 1 of 16 shots over a long second-half stretch and finished the game 6 for 30 from the 3-point arc.
Oregon led 35-33 when a deep 3-pointer by Pritchard triggered an 11-4 burst that pushed the margin to nine points. White had a 3-pointer and a layup during the run and Pritchard fed Wooten for an alley-oop dunk that made it 46-37 with 12:39 left.
The teams were even at 25-all after a first half in which only four points were scored in the final 4:51.