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February 10, 2013

Utes drop another

The Utah Basketball team visited Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, taking on the 18-5, No. 19 Oregon Ducks Saturday night.

A seemingly uphill battle was made less daunting by the Ducks' struggles and loss to Colorado in its last outing, and Utah came out of the gate confident. Taking care of the ball, executing their offense and playing good defense, the Utes had no problem rolling by the Ducks in the first half.

While Oregon committed 11 first half turnovers, Utah committed just four, all of which came in rapid succession near the end of the half. Oregon suffered a 30.8 percent opening half, Utah shot a blistering 57.1 percent.

Freshman [db]Jordan Loveridge[/db] scored 14 points in the opening half, and senior center [db]Jason Washburn[/db] scored 10 points to buoy the Utes in the first after both turned in poor performances versus Oregon State earlier in the week.

The two teams looked to have swapped places for a half, as the Ducks struggled mightily with issues like a stagnant offense and turnovers, both of which have been perennial issues for Utah this season while Oregon was rolling through its season with eyes for a Pac-12 championship and an NCAA berth. Until the troubling loss to Colorado, the Ducks had encountered no speed bumps in their road, but their issues looked to continue in the early going against Utah. Without a comeback, Oregon appeared to be heading for an inexplicable, troubling skid.

Down 30-22 at the half, Oregon opened the half on a 9-2 run before Utah got back on track around midway through the second half. After a 7-2 burst of its own around the 13 minute mark, Utah would allow Oregon to go on an 18-2 run at the midway point of the half.

After a Washburn bucket at the 11:57 mark put Utah up 43-38, the Utes would not score again until another Washburn bucket at the 7:54 mark made the score 49-45, and pulled the Utes to within four points.

Utah would not hit another field goal until the 2:38 mark, but did manage four free throws in what was one of the Utes' ugliest dry spells of the season.

Ultimately Oregon exploded for 51 point second half, capping off its much-needed comeback. Oregon shot 48.1 percent in the second half, but had shot 56 percent through the first 15 minutes of the closing half before taking a slide late in the game.

Utah was beaten soundly on the boards, as Oregon, who ranks 14th nationally with a +7.9 average rebounding margin, doubled Utah up 41-19. The lopsided advantage on the boards netted the Ducks 24 second chance points, most of which came in the second half.

Adding to Utah's second half woes were the nine turnovers committed, which jump-started Oregon's run with 13 second half points off of turnovers. Conversely, Utah went on a second half scoring drought, which saw Washburn and Loveridge score just six combined points in the second half after combining for 24 points in the first.

Washburn would finish the night with 20 points and 7 rebounds, while Loveridge was held scoreless in the second half to finish with 14 points and no rebounds on the night. Senior guard [db]Jarred DuBois[/db] added 15 points and five assists.

To Utah's credit, it never gave up and scored 12 points in the final 2:38 of the game. On a mini run, Utah cut the one-time 11 point Oregon lead to as little as six as late as the 2:16 mark before the Ducks pulled away for good.

The 73-64 loss loss dropped Utah's record to 10-13, 2-9. Utah plays host to Arizona State Wednesday and No. 7 Arizona on Sunday.


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