By James Crepea

The Oregonian

Next up

Oregon at Oregon St.

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

TV: Pac-12

Radio: KBND 1110-AM, 100.1-FM

EUGENE — For so many games this season, Payton Pritchard seemed timid and unwilling to take over on offense. The Oregon junior guard admitted he was getting in his own head.

Pritchard reversed that trend this week, scoring 20 points in back-to-back games for the first time in his career to help lead Oregon past California on Wednesday and Stanford, in 69-46 fashion, Sunday at Matthew Knight Arena.

Sophomore forward Kenny Wooten, who had six points and six rebounds and tied a career high with seven blocks, and guard Victor Bailey Jr. said there wasn’t anything different this week about Pritchard other than the results.

“He works hard every day,” Wooten said. “Right now he’s just in a zone. He’s just knocking down shots. He puts in the same consistent work and it’s just starting to drop for him right now.”

It was the fewest points allowed by Oregon this season and tied for the fewest points scored by Stanford. The last time a Pac-12 opponent shot so poorly against the Ducks was when Washington State shot 25 percent on Jan. 26, 2014.

“Defense is always the top priority — getting stops,” Bailey Jr. said. “Coach has emphasized that from the beginning of the year. But I think for us really locking in and staying on the defensive end, that’s going to take us over the top over offense any day.”

Pritchard was 8 of 13 from the field, including a perfect 6 for 6 in a 15-point second half, and 2 of 4 at the free-throw line. The former West Linn High School star led the offense and Wooten led the defensive effort for Oregon (6-5 Pac-12, 15-9 overall), which moved into a tie with USC for fifth place in the Pac-12 and a game back of a three-way tie for second.

“This game was big, especially for spots in the Pac(-12),” Bailey Jr. said. “We really needed this win to try and get up on that top level of guys in the Pac right now.”

Wooten was particularly tormenting inside the paint during the first half, when he had five of his blocks. Stanford started the game with 13 straight misses, many of them from close range, but Wooten was there to swat them away on several occasions as the Ducks built an 18-4 lead.