No. 10 Oregon needed all 45 minutes to survive an overtime thriller and defeat No. 5 Michigan 71-70 to escape Ann Arbor, Michigan, with a marquee road win Saturday. The Ducks held on with a late defensive stop by forcing a front-end missed hook shot from Michigan guard Zavier Simpson -- his go-to move -- in the final seconds to secure the win. Simpson finished with eight points and 11 assists, but finished the game with a turnover, foul and then consecutive missed shots -- including the potential game-winner -- over the final 2:32 of the game.
Oregon led by as many as 16 points in the first half but nearly crumbled in the second half, a testament to Michigan finally waking up. Michigan missed on 10 of its first 12 3-point attempts of the game before making seven of its final nine attempts down the stretch. Wolverines freshman Franz Wagner paced the team in that turnaround, making four of his seven 3-point attempts. He finished with a team-high 21 points.
For Oregon, the star and savior of the day was senior point guard Payton Pritchard, who came alive in the clutch. He scored 23 points on the day and came up time and again in critical moments to will the Ducks to a huge road win. Pritchard earned his points the hard way by lining up opposite Simpson, one of the stingiest perimeter defenders in college basketball.
Oregon improves to 8-2 on the season with the win, meanwhile, the Wolverines fall to 8-3, dropping their third game in four attempts after a 7-0 start to 2019-20.
Here are three key takeaways from Oregon's win.
1. Payton Pritchard has another level: Pritchard's 23 points, three steals and four assists is a stat line that stands on its own merit. When he scored the chunk of those points, though, is what matters most. He scored six of Oregon's eight points in overtime and accounted for the team's final nine points in regulation, single-handedly keeping Michigan at arms length. At one point during that stretch, he scored 13 straight points for Oregon. And in a game where Oregon was shorthanded (without grad transfer Shakur Juiston and five-star freshman N'Faly Dante), this individual performance was a chef's kiss.
2. Michigan's cold streak continues: After a 7-0 start to the season, Michigan, which notched wins over Iowa State, Gonzaga and North Carolina during that stretch, has now lost three of its last four games. So what gives?
A big reason for that slide has been Michigan's cold streak from deep. In its eight wins this season, it has made 82-of-194 3-point attempts (42.3%); in losses that number now sits at 15-of-58. That number is boosted a bit after a 9-of-21 shooting performance today, but it's deceiving: Michigan missed 10 of its first 12 shots from deep, a huge reason why Oregon was able to build its early lead to begin with.
3. Star turn for Franz Wagner: Michigan's talented freshman has had a roller coaster of a season, but his 21 points against Oregon is a new career-high, topping his 18 points he scored against Iowa last week. It's clear he's a lethal threat that needs to be more involved offensively, and Juwan Howard has done just that of late; he's taken eight or more shots in the last three games after doing so just once in his previous four games. When Michigan needed big shots late, he was getting the ball and delivering the goods. This offense should start to feature him more prominently after what we saw Saturday.