College

Pritchard keeps on winning

Ducks senior named Player of the Year
Staff Report

Payton Pritchard has added again to his mancave of basketball spoils.

After being named a first-team All-American Tuesday, Pritchard was named the recipient of the 2019-20 Lute Olson Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top Division I player, Wednesday by CollegeInsider.com.

Pritchard is the first player from the Pac-12 to win the award.

The 2020 Pac-12 Player of the Year was one of just three players nationally to average at least 20 points, four rebounds and five assists per game and was one of just four players nationally who led his conference in both scoring (20.5 points per game) and assists (5.6 per game).

He joined Gary Payton (Oregon State, 1989-90), Damon Stoudamire (Arizona, 1994-95) and Jason Terry (Arizona, 1998-99) as the only players in conference history to lead the league in both scoring and assists. Like Pritchard, the previous three players to do that were all consensus first team All-Americans and Payton and Terry were National Players of the Year.
Pritchard also led the league with 88 three-pointers, joining Stoudamire (112) as the only players to top all three categories in the same season.

Pritchard helped Oregon to an outright Pac-12 regular season title, the Duck’s third in the last five years. Oregon finished 24-7 overall (13-5 in the conference).

Named Oregon’s first consensus first team All-American in 80 years on Tuesday, Pritchard has been named a first team All-American by nine different organizations this season.

Pritchard is one of five national finalists for both the Naismith Trophy and the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award. He is also one of 15 student-athletes on the Wooden Award National Ballot.

Named the national player of the week by three different organizations this season (Naismith Trophy, Oscar Robertson Trophy, NCAA.com) and twice named Pac-12 player of the week, Pritchard led the nation with 140 consecutive starts.

He is the only player in Pac-12 history with 1,900 career points, 600 career assists and 500 career rebounds.

Pritchard finished his career as school record holder in assists (659), wins (105) games played (144) and games started (140). He ranks second in both UO career steals with 211 and three-pointers with 288. His 1,938 career points rank fourth all-time at Oregon.

Pritchard scored at least 20 points against 10 different Pac-12 opponents this season.

He was voted the Pac-12 Tournament Most Valuable Player in 2019, when he led the Ducks to four wins and a berth in the NCAA Tournament, where they reached the Sweet 16.

The award is named in honor of Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson, who won 776 games in 34 seasons, 24 of which were spent at the University of Arizona. During that stretch he led the Wildcats to 11 Pac-10 Conference titles, 23 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, four Final Four appearances and a National Championship in 1997.
 
Lute Olson Award Winners
2020 Payton Pritchard, Oregon
2019 Ja Morant, Murray State
2018 Jalen Brunson, Villanova
2017 Caleb Swanigan, Purdue
2016 Denzel Valentine, Michigan State
2015 Cameron Payne, Murray State
2014 Doug McDermott, Creighton
2013 Shane Larkin, Miami
2012 Doug McDermott, Creighton
2011 Kemba Walker, Connecticut
2010 Sherron Collins, Kansas

Canzano misses boat on Pilots hoop

UP has a perfect successor to Terry Porter lined up just two miles away
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

To get a handle on the University of Portland men's basketball program these days, you only had to follow the website coachesdatabase.com in February and look for head coach Terry Porter's name. The site has a section called the Hot Seat Report. From the hottest to just warm, the editors give you a good idea of who needs to perform the most, and the fastest, including Danny Manning at Wake Forest, Donyell Marshall at Central Connecticut and, for a time, Patrick Ewing at Georgetown.

But, Porter's name wasn't on that list.

At the tail end of a 15-game losing streak that closed the program's fourth straight season of finishing last or ninth in the 10-team West Coast Conference, Porter didn't make the even mildly hot list until Feb. 26. What's that say? Nobody's paying attention. And when nobody's paying attention to your basketball program, it probably shouldn't be your basketball program anymore.

In these challenging times, though, Portland announced Tuesday that Porter would return for the fifth and final year of the 2016 contract he signed that directed his focus from the NBA, where he was head coach for both the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns, to the college game, where he has gotten to coach his two sons. The excitement Porter initially brought due to his long, memorable playing career with the Trail Blazers helped the school attract boosters, but it never transferred to the court. In four seasons, the Pilots won just seven conference games combined, including just one the past two seasons.

John Canzano, The Oregonian's sports columnist, wrote the school probably should work its way out of Porter's final year back in February. After Tuesday's announcement, he wrote again the school should have worked its way into another coach. "They punted," Canzano wrote. I'd agree with that except for the state of the world today, and making a coaching move of a popular and well-respected guy in charge truly unnecessary regardless of wins. The need to win at UP just isn't that great these days, and Porter already has a contract.

Anything short of a Disney+ "Miracle on the Bluff" season, though, and UP will be looking for another coach in 12 months.

In compiling a short list of candidates, Canzano showcased just how little attention the Pilots generate even to experienced journalists, and he missed the perfect candidate who's just two miles away from the Chiles Center. It's Tony Broadous, head coach of the Portland Community College program for the past eight seasons (and Grant High for a decade before that).

There is not a better choice for the Portland Pilots than Broadous, and he needs to be on the radar for the school because when I've talked with sports folks in the area about him at the University of Portland the main response has been "now that would be exciting."

Broadous moved from Grant, which won the state title in 2008 under his guidance, to PCC in 2012 with the idea that might lead to a four-year school in the future. The Panthers had just come off a winless season in which they lost games by an average of 37 points. The program had never been to the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges playoffs in spite of the fact half the eight teams in their division qualified each year by finishing fourth or higher. In spite of sitting directly across the street from Jefferson High, the program had basically no pulse. That changed quickly.

In year one under Broadous, Portland missed the playoffs by just one win, and in year two ... it won the NWAACC title. Two years removed from a winless season, PCC had a league title (2014) in its first-ever trip to the playoffs.

In the past six seasons, in spite of being the only full-time coach and having no budget for anything but Facetime chats, Portland has been to the playoffs again four times, and reached the NWAACC tournament semifinals in 2018. They were headed to the tournament again this season before it was cancelled.

Moving from a former NBA coach and local basketball legend to a community college coach would be quite a gamble for UP, but that's exactly the kind of thing Disney+ was made for - and the Pilots desperately need that kind of attention. Broadous, 51, is worthy of that opportunity starting with his connections in Portland. People know him. And, his connections around the region - coaches know him. And, his work on the court - PCC is a regular winner and has all-league players each season.

Given the opportunity to recruit to a four-year program, with numerous full-time assistants, it's exciting to think what might happen in the Chiles Center starting in 2021.

Broadous isn't going to be an expensive hire - maybe the program could use some of that savings on an additional recruiting coordinator - and he's probably going to be extremely loyal if some success brings other schools calling.

Canzano's short list of successors had a few names tossed in to look impressive starting with Portlander and former Blazer Damon Stoudamire, the head coach of WCC rival Pacific. After three losing seasons, Stoudamire was on the Hot Seat for much of this season, but the Tigers won 23 games, and he was recently named the nation's minority coach of the year. One more solid season and big name programs will come calling. Portland's calls next season - even this past season - would be going to voicemail.

Former UC Santa Barbara coach Bob Williams made the list, but he's, well, who is he again to Portland fans?

Greg Clink has guided Chico State to regular success at Div. II, but he's been there for 12 secure seasons and, again, who's he to Portland fans?

Barret Peery is the head coach at Portland State, and has averaged 18 wins per season in his first three years there. Moving across town wouldn't be a stretch, but would involve rebuilding another program and he's got a lot more of a shot at winning a conference title in the program he's already building.

And, finally, former UNLV head coach Dave Rice, who led his alma mater to NCAA trips twice in five (full) seasons, more than a dozen wins over higher ranked teams, and claimed the top pick in the NBA Draft (2013 - Anthony Bennett) as program highlights. But, the school abruptly fired him during his sixth season - that doesn't speak well about making boosters happy. Since 2017, he's been an assistant at Washington, which finished last in the Pac-12 this season.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few has been vocal about WCC members needing to spend more on their programs so as to get more teams to the NCAA Tournament - and the riches that conference members share in. But, money doesn't always buy success in any sport, and neither do big names as the school has found out. Coaches sell dreams that need to turn into reality, and Broadous has enough of that on his resume to be able to recruit on Day One, in spite of that resume just being at the high school and community college level. And he's going to need to jump right in on Day One because of not having any ability to recruit during the season.

UP is still feeling the glow of its women's basketball team performing a Disney+ miracle by playing its way into the NCAA Tournament under a first-year coach and having been picked for last by conference head coaches. That coach, Michael Meek, was a former high school coach at Southridge in Beaverton, who moved to NCAA Div. III's George Fox in 2011.

So, the Pilots are secure for another season under Porter, but the coaching search for his replacement has likely already begun. When the names start to go on the big chalkboard, hopefully the school's athletic director, Scott Leykam, and his associates will take more than a few minutes to dream about what the Chiles Center might look like with maybe the nation's biggest underdog on the sideline at one of the nation's biggest underdogs as a program. That's a story made for the Magic Kingdom.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misidentified Barret Peery as the former head coach at Portland State. We regret that error.

 

Ionescu gets the top nod

Oregon senior earned unanimous Player of the Year award
Staff Report

Returning for her senior season worked out pretty good for Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu record-wise.

Ionescu capped an unprecedented college career by entering an exclusive club Monday.

Oregon’s star guard was the unanimous choice as The Associated Press women’s basketball player of the year, receiving all 30 votes from the national media panel that selects the Top 25 each week during the season.

Since the award was first given in 1995, the only other player to receive all the votes was Breanna Stewart of Connecticut (2016).

“That’s pretty crazy - someone I look up to and have a good relationship with,” Ionescu told the AP Monday. “To be in that class with her is an honor.”

Ionescu, who was only the eighth player to earn AP All-America honors three times, shattered the NCAA career triple-double mark and became the first player in college history to have 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists.

Ionescu averaged 17.5 points, 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds this season as well as having eight of her 26 career triple-doubles.

She helped the Ducks, who started the season ranked No. 1, win the Pac-12 regular-season and tournament titles. The native of Walnut Creek, California, was honored as the conference’s most outstanding player of the tournament and regular season.

Oregon had a 31-2 record and was headed toward playing host to the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament, as well as a likely spot in the Portland Regional set for the Moda Center when the season abruptly ended due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Concordia already planned to ride into sunset

The Cavaliers women's soccer team was still playing in Spring
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

Concordia University had already planned to close before the national emergency of COVID-19 arrived, but the women's soccer team at the school hadn't altered its plans in spite of not having a season to look forward to. They still had spring and they were using it, even with a plan to play the University of Portland on its home field.

And, the school's alumni were ready to celebrate, too, with an April 4 gathering.

Those plans were all dashed with the governors decisions relating to public gatherings, but the history of the program will live long into the future with 22 consecutive winning seasons and 14 straight NAIA tournament appearances. The Cavs won the national title in 2014 after playing in three other finals.

Coach Grant Landy talked about the program and what he'll leave behind as the school closes just as society locks down in the year's inaugural episode of No Pity City PDX.

NO PITY CITY PDX

GRANT LANDY COACHING RECORD

NAIA 1997-2014 / 330-62-23

        Champions 2014

        Finalists 2004, 2008, 2011

        Semifinals 2003, 2006, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

When will crowds be safe again?

in
NCAA Tournament will play out in front of TV, but no fans
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

With the announcement of the NCAA cancelling all crowds at the upcoming men's and women's basketball tournaments, it's a fair thing to ask - when will it be safe again to get together as a crowd?

And, how much damage are we doing as a society to our society through its economy due to an illness that has the world on edge because it's not known just how deadly it is, although data seems to show it's not nearly as dangerous as the seasonal flu. But, that could change, of course, if the coronavirus spreads as dramatically as it seems to be spreading.

Or, it might just be spreading like a strain of the flu that causes hundreds of thousands of American to seek some form of hospital attention every year, and has killed more than 20,000 by published resources.

Crowds are being banned all across the nation, including the cancellation of the annual South by Southwest Music Festival. There generally is a timeline, though, attached to public announcements of sometime in the middle of April for when events can be staged again.

 

Oregon conquers the Pac-12!

Women win tournament, men top regular-season standings
Staff Report

It's official - Oregon owns the Pac-12 in basketball.

After an 89-56 throtling of Stanford, the Ducks claimed the conference women's tournament title for the second time in four seasons, and will head to the NCAA Tournament as a favorite to at least reach the Final Four.

Ranked third after being ranked No. 1 to start the season, Oregon improved to 31-2 with just one conference loss during the regular season.

Senior Sabrina Ionescu was named tournament MVP for the second time in three seasons, and finished her four years as the all-time leading scorer in tournament games.

The Oregon men, two days after a 90-56 shellacking of Cal, claimed the Pac-12 regular-season title with an 80-67 over Stanford in Eugene Saturday with its sixth conference win in its last seven games. The Ducks (24-7, 13-5 Pac-12) head to the conference tournament as defending champions and the highest ranked team nationally at No. 13. Led by guard Payton Pritchard, Oregon won the 2019 tournament with an improbable four-game win streak in four days and played its way into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

Pritchard is a top contender for conference Player of the Year this season.

UCLA finished second in the conference standings at 19-12, 12-6.

The men's conference tournament begins Wednesday in Las Vegas with four first-round games. Oregon is scheduled to play the winner of Utah vs. Oregon State on Thursday at noon in the quarterfinals. The semifinals are set for Friday with the final on Saturday.

Oregon's women will learn their fate in terms of seeding for the NCAA Tournament next Monday. The Ducks will likely play host to the first and second rounds of the West Regional, which will play its two Sweet 16 games and Elite 8 contest at the Moda Center in Portland, March 28 and 30.

The Final Four is set for New Orleans, April 3 and 5. Oregon played into the Final Four last year before losing to eventual champion Baylor, which is ranked No. 2 this season behind South Carolina. Louisville, which has a win over the Ducks this season, is ranked fourth.

Oregon State, in spite of just reaching the quarterfinals of the conference tournament, is likely to play host to the first and second rounds as well as the 14th-ranked team in the nation.

The Pac-12 featured five teams ranked in the top 14 entering the conference tournament.

 

 

 

Portland nears NCAA tourney bid

UP women's hoop upsets No. 11 Gonzaga in WCC Tourney
Staff Report

In one of the more improbable comebacks of an already improbable season, the University of Portland women's basketball team rallied from a 20-point deficit to beat No. 11 Gonzaga 70-69 in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference Tournament in Las Vegas.

Sophomore guard Haylee Andrews scored on a short jumper with five seconds left for the final points, ending a ferocious finish by both teams.

Portland will play in the conference final Tuesday with the winner earning an automatic NCAA Tournament berth. Gonzaga is likely to earn a berth and play host to first- and second-round games in spite of the loss.

"This is amazing how we were picked for 10th," Andrews said to the streaming media audience. "Now we have to get ready for one more game."

Portland improved to 20-11 on the season, just a week after losing to Gonzaga at home.

Gonzaga dropped to 28-3.

The Piots were picked for last in the WCC prior to the season under first-year coach Michael Meek. But they overcame all expectations and finished fourth in the conference standings with just one primary senior in the playing rotation.

Trailing 29-9 in the first quarter, the Pilots rallied to within 39-35 at the half and led by six points in the fourth quarter before the Zags went on an 8-0 run to lead 65-63 with 2:57 left. But freshman forward Alex Fowler, who scored a game-high 22 points, gave Portland the lead again at 68-67 with 25 seconds left. Gonzaga scored for a 69-68 lead with eight seconds left, which set the stage for Andrews' heroics.

Portland has not been to the NCAA Tournament since 1997, and has never won a tournament game.

 

 

 

 

 

College, prep hoop get down to business

Brackets are in action across the state, West Coast
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

It's time for a whole lot of seasons to end for high school and college basketball teams.

Lots of hugs. A team meeting, and some speeches - an annual right of passage as playoffs and tournaments are in full swing across Oregon and the West Coast.

Class 3A, 2A and 1A state tournaments begin for girls teams today, with boys basketball tournaments beginning tomorrow at the same classifications in Coos Bay, Hermiston and Baker City.

Playoff brackets for girls and boys teams at the Class 6A, 5A and 4A levels began Tuesday night with those tournament set to start next week.

At the college level, there's significant action as well - in Las Vegas, where both the Pac-12 and West Coast Conference tournaments are set to play out beginning Thursday.

NCAA

In the Pac-12 women's tourney, Oregon State, ranked 14th, begins play on Thursday after finishing fifth in the highly competitive conference, which has five teams in the Top 14 of the final national rankings. The Beavers play Washington State in the first round.

No. 3 Oregon plays its game in the quarterfinals against one of Thursday's winners on Friday. 

In the WCC tourney, the University of Portland women's team doesn't play its first game until Saturday with its opponent still to be determined with games starting Thursday.

UP's men's team plays Santa Clara in the opening round Thursday.

The Pac-12 men's tournament is set for next week.

At the Div. II level, Western Oregon begins play in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference men's tournament in Seattle on Thursday against the University of Alaska.

At the Div. III level, the Northwest Conference played its tournaments over the weekend and George Fox of Newberg won the women's tournament for the third consecutive year on Saturday. The Foxes will play Montclair State Friday in the first round of the 64-team national tournament in Arlington, Va.

NAIA

In the Div. II Cascade Conference, both Northest Christian of Eugene and Southern Oregon played their way into the national tournament Tuesday. NCU won the tournament for the first time and SOU earned its spot by reaching the title game.

Oregon Tech reached the title game of the men's tournament, but Southern Oregon, which finished second during the regular season is automatically qualified for the national tournament despite losing in semifinals.

NWAACC

In the newly-renamed Northwest Athletic Conference, the 16-team men's and women's tournaments begin on Thursday in Everett, Wash. The women's tournament includes unbeaten Umpqua, Lane, Clackamas and Mt. Hood all in action, with winners playing Friday in the second round. Umpqua has finished second the past two seasons.

On the men's side, Clackamas, Umpqua, Portland and Chemeketa begin on Saturday with winners reaching the quarterfinals Sunday. Both tournaments close out the following weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pilot women lose, gain momentum

No. 10 Gonzaga pulls away for 56-42 win, but UP eyes tourney upset
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - A loud, often raucous crowd set the stage for a huge, memorable win Saturday for the University of Portland women's basketball program, and it did it's part for most of three quarters.

Senior guard Kate Andersen, honored prior to the game, even hit a three-point shot at the first quarter buzzer to tie the game at 11.

But, tenth-ranked Gonzaga had too much inside firepower and pulled away from a 40-35 edge after three quarters for a 56-42 victory before an announced crowd of 1,709 fans at the Chiles Center.

Gonzaga junior forwards Jenn and LeeAnne Wirth combined for 28 pooints and 17 rebounds to send the Zags, who had more than 100 fans themselves, into the West Coast Conference Tournament as the No.1 seed. Gonzaga is 28-2 overall and 17-1 in WCC games.

Portland enters the tournament that begins in Las Vegas on Thursday as the fifth seed at 18-11, 11-7. The Pilots, who lost their contest at Gonzaga by 10 points earlier in the season, won just seven games two seasons ago.

"This has been a great season for our girls and our fans to build support for the program," first-year coach Michael Meek said afterward. "This is an easy team to get behind because of how our players perform, and the effort they put out."

Andersen led the Pilots with 10 points, and sophomore Haylee Andrews had 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Pilots were hammered by turnovers, though, commiting 21 in the game, including 10 in the fourth quarter when they were outscored 16-7.

Gonzaga held a 12-5 edge in second chance points and 14-2 in bench scoring.

First round WCC tournament pairings have yet to be announced, but Andrews said the Pilots would take Saturday's loss as a significant learning tool if they are able to meet Gonzaga again.

"We're definitely be looking at a lot of film, looking to see what we can do to beat them," said Andrews, who was the WCC Player of the Week three times this season. "They're No. 10 for a reason, but we're going to go into the tournament with the thinking we can beat them."

 

 

 

Oregon finally overcomes

No. 14 Ducks end three-game skid to Oregon State
Staff Report

The Oregon men's basketball team got back on track - in-state anyway - with its drive to own the Pac-12 Conference Thursday by beating Oregon State, 69-54, at Matthew Night Arena in Eugene.

It wasn't a surprise as Oregon entered ranked No. 14, while Oregon State entered just above .500. But, the Beavers had won the past three contests with the Ducks, including a 63-53 decision at Gill Coliseum earlier in the month. Hot shooting in the second half, though, helped Oregon pull away and end that particular skid on the way to moving back atop the conference standings.

Oregon improved to 22-7 overall, 11-5 in conference games, and into a tie with UCLA for the PAc-12 lead. The Ducks have home games with California and Stanford next week to round out the regular season.

Oregon State dropped to 15-13, 5-11 with home games against Stanford and Cal next week.

Senior Payton Pritchard, as he has nearly the entire season, led Oregon with 23 points, including 15 in the second half. Will Richardson added 15 points and Anthony Mathis had 13 for Oregon, which led just 29-25 at the half.

Ethan Thompson and Tres Tinkle combined for 29 points to lead the Beavers, who hit six of 20 3-point shots. Oregon hit 11 of 23 - 5-of-9 by Pritchard.

 

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