Oregon survived a stiff challenge from UC Riverside on Wednesday night in Eugene, Ore., with Will Richardson’s 17 points leading the Ducks to a 71-65 nonconference win.
N’Faly Dante added 12 points on 4-of-5 field-goal shooting while Eric Williams Jr. had 11 points and a team-leading eight rebounds.
Dominick Pickett’s 15 points led UC Riverside (5-4). Callum McRae and Zyon Pullin contributed 12 points apiece.
The Ducks (5-3) led 21-13 with 13:21 left in the first half, after Richardson hit his first 3-pointer of the game. A Quincy Guerrier trey at the 5:02 mark gave Oregon a 35-26 lead, and the Ducks were up by as many as 10 points before the Highlanders finished the half on a 7-2 run.
Oregon led 42-37 at halftime with both teams having shot well from the field, 65.4 percent for the Ducks and 63 percent for the Highlanders. Oregon was 6 of 11 on 3-point attempts before halftime.
But the Highlanders, already with road wins over Arizona State and UTEP in nonconference play, refused to go away. They tied the game at 49 on a Quinton Ford layup with 13:08 to play.
Pickett took a kick-out pass from teammate J.P. Moorman II and swished a deep 3-pointer with 9:10 to go, giving the Highlanders a 56-55 lead, their first edge since the first minute of the game.
Oregon responded on both ends, forcing airball shot attempts on three of four possessions after the Highlanders had gone in front and taking a 63-58 lead on a Richardson layup with 4:42 left.
UC Riverside got as close as two points after that, but a spinning layup from De’Vion Harmon while being fouled with 1:52 to play resulted in three points and a 68-63 lead.
The Highlanders tried fouling Dante and sending him to the free throw line in the final minute, but Dante made three of six foul shots inside of 45 seconds to help the Ducks get the win.
UC Riverside made just 1 of 6 shots in the final 90 seconds of the game.