Shorthanded yet undeterred, Oregon’s cobbled-together lineup put an end to the Ducks’ three-game losing streak and gave them a morale boost heading into Pac-12 play.
Veterans Will Richardson and Quincy Guerrier provided the stability and leadership Oregon needed Sunday afternoon in a 74-67 victory against Villanova at the Chiles Center in Portland in the seventh-place game of the Phil Knight Invitational men's basketball tournament.
With their list of injured players growing by the day, the Ducks (3-4) were down to six scholarship players available and walk-on guard Gabe Reichle in the starting lineup.
It wasn’t a problem for Oregon, as Guerrier scored a season-high 21 to go with eight rebounds, and Richardson added 19 points and eight assists.
Those two were clutch down the stretch after the Wildcats (2-5) had taken a 67-64 lead with 2:24 to play on a 3-pointer by Brendan Hausen.
Guerrier answered with a 3-pointer — his sixth of the game — with 2:08 to play to tie the score.
Then Richardson took over, scoring five points on three possessions as he got to the line for a free throw, drove the lane for a finger roll and then spun out of traffic for a jumper from the paint as he put the Ducks up 72-67 with 18.1 seconds remaining.
After taking the lead, Villanova missed their final four shots from the field with Oregon grabbing the rebound each time.
Overall, the Ducks outrebounded the Wildcats 42-30 and shot 44.1% from the field (26-for-59) and 37.9% from 3-point range (11-for-29) en route to their only win of the Phil Knight Invitational, which included an 83-59 loss to No. 20 Connecticut Thursday and a 74-70 loss to No. 12 Michigan State Friday.
And they won with a half-dozen scholarship players watching in street clothes.
Starting center N’Faly Dante, the Ducks’ leading scorer and rebounder, didn’t play, and neither did key reserve center Nate Bittle. Both players were injured Friday against the Spartans.
Also on the bench were starting guard Keeshawn Barthelemy, who was hurt in the Houston game Nov. 20, and injured guards Jermaine Couisnard and Brennan Rigsby, and forward Ethan Butler, who haven’t played yet this season.
Oregon’s starting lineup included freshman center Kel’el Ware, who had 13 points and seven rebounds, guard Rivaldo Soares (10 points and eight rebounds) and walk-on guard Gabe Reichle (three points and six rebounds).
Forward Lök Wur had eight points and four rebounds off the bench. Guard Tyrone Williams and walk-on forward James Cooper also played.
Oregon (3-4) vs. Washington State (3-2)
7:30 p.m. Thursday at Matthew Knight Arena. TV: Pac-12 Networks. Radio: KUJZ-FM (95.3)
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This article originally appeared on Register-Guard: Oregon Ducks men's basketball get win vs. Villanova Wildcats